Worship and Money
Rabbi Daniel Lapin
August 18, 2019
Main Idea– Money is a certificate of good performance. It is given to you by God when You have interacted with, and served well, the needs of His other children.
Sharing God’s wisdom
- Rabbi Lapin does not regard himself as brilliant, but simply as someone who studies ancient Jewish wisdom - as found in the scriptures - and shares those concepts with others.
- Through the Old Testament scriptures God has provided the guidance for everything you will need in life.
The gift of creativity
- God values human creativity and industriousness. Genesis 2:15 – Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.
- God put us here to use and develop the natural resources of the planet.
- God created us in His image and put us here to work and provide value for each other.Technology is proof we are creative – just as He is.
Serving each other’s needs
- God wants us to take care of each other and have relationships with each other.
- It gives Him joy when we find ways to serve His other children.
- God directed Solomon to build a huge temple for worship in the middle of a thriving urban area (Jerusalem). He did not want it built out in the middle of “nature.”
Money as evidence of a job well done
- No other created being – no animal – was given the ability to develop technology.
- However, to be able to make technology – and other useful things – you must work alongside others.
- Money is good. God gave it to us to encourage us to interact with each other. Genesis 2:12 – And the gold of that land is good. Bdellium and the onyx stone are there.
- Money is evidence God has unique expectations of us; expectations he does not have of the animals.
- God wants us to have individual, personal property that is our own. We should be happy for – not resentful – of what other people have.
- Deuteronomy 19:14 – You shall not remove your neighbor’s landmark, which the men of old have set, in your inheritance which you will inherit in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.
- Exodus 20:17 – You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.
Work and worship go together
- God gave humans clear directions about what is important to Him. It’s important that we work hard for six days and then rest on the seventh day to praise Him.
- Exodus 20:9-10 – Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you nor your son nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.
- Exodus 9:1 – Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh and tell him, ‘Thus says the Lord God of the Hebrews: “Let My people go, that they may serve (worship) Me.”
- Joshua 24:15 – And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
- In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for “work” and “worship” is the same word (abad). Therefore, we should regard the concepts of work and worship together. The two ideas should be merged.
- Worship not only means praising God, but also doing your job well. In other words, working to provide a product that benefits others is part of what is worship.
It is not good to be alone
- There are two places in the Old Testament where God said something was “not good.” (The Hebrew word “towb”)
- The first place was when God said it was not good for Adam to be alone. Genesis 2:18 – And the Lord said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.
- The second place was in Exodus where Moses’ father-in-law told him it was not good that Moses spent all his time resolving the personal problems of the Israelites. Exodus 18:17 – So Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you do is not good.” He advised Moses to delegate the work to many other people alongside him.
- Isolation is not good. Isolation will make you crazy.
- God gave us money as an incentive to socialize and interact with others in a productive way.
- Money is the means by which value is exchanged between individuals. When you spend money, you are receiving a product you value more than the money. Otherwise, you would not have spent the money.
Provide value through your work
- Money will come to you if you work at providing something people value more than their money.
- People will exchange their money with you if you provide them with something they value, if they trust you, have faith in you, and like you.
- Money is a certificate of performance that you did something good for God’s children; that you have interacted well with the rest of His family.
- Money is not something God will give you because you ask for it.
- Money is a reward for thinking about, and serving, the needs of others.
Reflective Questions for Worship and Money
- What does it mean to you that the Hebrew word for “work” and “worship” is the same word?
- How, if at all, does that enable you to better evaluate your current employment or responsibilities?
- Based on Rabbi Lapin’s teaching, what is the purpose of money?
- Based on Rabbi Lapin’s teaching, how could you best respond – with love – to someone who says s/he can worship God out in the woods?