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Lucre - Sweet Money, Sweet Smelling or Filthy Lucre?

The wealth of the wicked is stored up for the righteous! People who work righteousness God's way!

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  Proverbs13:22b  . .  . But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.

The Apostle Paul referred to money as 'filthy lucre,' but he did this basically in connection with money being our focal point rather than our duties as Christians.  Below is just one example of this.

  1 Peter 5:2  Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

  For the sake of a picture, let's venture down the road of believing we as Christians should not receive or handle monies that come from gambling; in other words, monies that came through or from an evil source, which leaves the monies tainted in some way.  We have had the impression that we should not take it or handle it because it is like we are condoning the method or the source by which it was obtained. We can get into big trouble both biblically and in the natural if we take this way of thinking seriously. For one thing, there is not much money circulating that has not been used for an evil purpose. This necessitates us going to banks to get new bills to use monies that have not been used for an evil purpose. But if we really squeeze this picture we see that we cannot use new monies either because there is corruption in our government.  

  To form a correct picture here, as I was walking as a deacon I began seeing that money used for righteous purposes was sweet smelling savor when delivered for God's purposes.  After all, when it was properly delivered for the Lord it did something for both the Lord and the person receiving it.  Money used this way is most certainly not filthy lucre.  I began referring to money as sweet smelling savor or filthy lucre depending on what it was used for, not where it came from.  I could take you through scripture and present a picture that it is sweet smelling savor when used for the Lord but that is not the purpose or point of this writing.  We just have to think logically. The best example of this is the bag of money Jesus and His disciples had that no doubt contained money, some of which -probably all of it- had been used for evil purposes at one time. But Jesus still used it for righteous purposes. Money is simply a tool and we are to use it for righteous purposes. That makes it sweet smelling savor.  If we use it for evil purposes it is filthy lucre.  I've been around Christians who, if you handed them money from a slot machine out of Las Vegas; would probably drop it on the floor with the idea it had an evil connotation to it.  It's not the money that is evil but the act surrounding it. That same money could be used for a righteous purpose after it came out of the slot machine.  Why would we turn down a chance to use it for a righteous purpose because of where it has been? God didn't. He built the temple with the wealth of Egypt. It came from an evil source, from a place where people used it for evil purposes. But God turned it into sweet smelling savor when He used it for His purposes.  Can't you just see the people responsible for building the temple telling God He could not use it because it came from an evil source?  "God, this doesn't look good!" Can't you just see Jesus telling those rich women who had evil husbands that He could not take their money because of how it would look to some people who would see it as coming from an evil source?  This is most certainly the same picture as any of todays churches/ministries refusing funds because of how it might look to some. How will the following scripture ever be fulfilled if Christians can not take the wealth of the wicked?

  Proverbs13:22b . . . But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.

The wealth of Egypt being used to help build the temple is an example of this scripture. We see that the wealth from an evil source, the wicked, is stored up for those who will do righteous acts with it. We as Christians must get rid of this idea that we cannot take monies because it appears that we are condoning what the monies are from or the evil hands it came through.  If we do not change this mindset, Proverbs 13:22 b will never come to pass.  God used evil monies for righteous purposes and we should too.   Money is a tool and it is the act -how we use it- that determines whether it is a sweet-smelling savor or filthy lucre.

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