Crossing the Line
Derek Rippingale interviews Julian Archer—author of Help! I’ve Been Blessed!—about walking the dangerous line between wealth and spiritual poverty.
Derek RippingaleMar 20, 2023, 12:49 AM
Julian: We sold the last of 12 family businesses in 2007. God had blessed us beyond anything we could have imagined. Even though we worked faithfully to use the profits for His glory, I was hectically busy and continuously battling spiritual bankruptcy. I knew that regardless of how much I was “doing” for God, I didn’t have a saving relationship with Jesus. After fighting the “Faith vs Finance” battle for years, I finally completely surrendered to God and found true freedom. I was so excited by my new heart that I felt compelled to help others who were still in the battle.
Julian: Australia has been on an unprecedented affluence junket—overall it’s been up, up, up. Simultaneously, interest in Christianity has gone down, down, down. Affluence distracts us from eternal treasures. Gandhi got it pretty right when he said, “The fact is, the moment financial stability is assured, spiritual bankruptcy is also assured.”
Julian: How’s this one by John Wesley from 1789? “Wherever true Christianity spreads, it must cause diligence and frugality, which, in the natural course of things, must beget riches! And riches naturally beget pride, love of the world, and every temper that is destructive of Christianity.” Yikes!
Julian: Yes. But as Christ Himself said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” In our own power, we can’t be rich and Christian. But, with God, all things are possible. Deep, really deep in my heart I know that the more self-sufficient I become, the less Christ-like I become.
Julian: So often, when God blesses us we start to worship His gifts instead of Him. Jesus then knocks on our heart’s door but our hearts so crowded with His material blessings that we have no time or room for Him. This response to being blessed makes the blessings a curse—an eternal curse.
Julian: The first warning sign I experience is that I start to crop or drop my morning devotion time with God. It’s like the canary in the coal mine. When I see it happening, I know I need to immediately reprioritise my time. The second is that I see my time, my money, my thoughts and my energies being refocused onto worldly things. The things of earth grow strangely . . . bright!
Julian: Heaps! Let me share just one. In Deuteronomy 6, the children of Israel are about to cross into the “land of milk and honey” where material blessings flow like molten chocolate. God tells them that they are about to be blessed beyond their wildest dreams—a massive pay rise, a perfect life partner, winning the lottery—but He also gives them a warning, “When you have eaten and are full, then be careful not to forget the Lord.” What did Israel do? Hmmm.
Julian: Money is like manure. If you pile it up in one place, it starts to stink, but if you spread it around, it does a lot of good.
Julian: Have a heart attack! It really comes down to complete surrender. Let God give you a new heart that is no longer attracted and distracted by the things this world offers (see Ezekiel 36:25–27). That doesn’t mean wearing an old hessian overcoat and living in poverty. It means that regardless of how God is blessing you, you give it all to Him—your time, talents, treasures and body temple—and use it all for His glory, not your own.
Julian: It’s an old line but it’s as true as ever: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus and the things of earth will grow strangely dim.” Make time every day to read about, talk about and talk to Jesus. The closer you come to Him, the less you will desire earthly possessions and worldly experiences.
Julian: The world tells us “You deserve it” and then encourages us to go into debt to acquire and experience things that we don’t really need—and maybe don’t deserve! We’re told every day that “It’s all about you,” but Jesus comes along and humbly explains that “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24). The media tells us to get as much as we can, but Jesus says—actually He commands us—“Do not lay up your treasures on earth.”
Julian: There’s a strange phenomenon going on. Many young people are under “increased financial pressures” but they’re simultaneously travelling the world and spending like no previous generation. I encourage them to listen less to the travel agents and more to the real estate agents. Then they’ll be better able to provide for their future families. I believe that, as soon as they can, young people should try to buy a very basic piece of real estate. Every family should do all they can to try to have a humble roof over their heads. That’s really hard to do at 36,000 feet!
Julian: Live by the “Three Tens”. The first 10 per cent of your income goes straight back to God—we call it tithe. The second 10 per cent goes to offerings, charities and gifts. The third 10 per cent goes to “untouchable” savings—to be used for real emergencies, or for a future house deposit or similar family investment. Start the “Three Tens” ASAP.
Julian: Financial goals change due to life stages but three timeless principles are:
How much is enough? Jesus is enough. The person who has Jesus, and everything, has no more than the person who has Jesus alone. Work enough to provide for the needs of yourself and others but stay close to Christ, because ultimately nothing else matters.
Derek Rippingale lives in Launching Place, Victoria, and is co-founder/managing director of an IT company.
Nov 8, 2023
In this article, we will explore motivational quotes from the Bible, each a powerful antidote to the paralysis that so often infects our spirit.
Nov 7, 2023
Consider, if you will, the goodness of God, which is far from a nebulous concept. It is the very essence of God’s nature—a beacon that illuminates our path to righteousness...
Nov 7, 2023
The Bible reveals 'What was the Mission of Jesus'? When we gaze upon Jesus, we see the face of God—a perfect reflection of His righteousness, His justice, and His love...