Jesus had much to say about wealth. His most memorable conversation about money is His encounter with the rich young ruler (Matthew 19:16–30). The young man asks Jesus what he must do to obtain eternal life, and Jesus tells him to follow the commandments. When the man tells Jesus that he has done all that, Jesus tests his ability to obey the first commandment and tells him to sell all his possessions and give it to the poor and to follow Him. The young man couldn’t do this; his wealth had become an idol—it was his master!
After this encounter, Jesus turns to His disciples and says, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:23–24). This is a hard saying, especially for 21st-century people living in North America. Jesus is saying that wealth is one of the biggest obstacles to coming to faith in Christ. The reason is obvious: wealth becomes a slave master in our lives and drives us to do all sorts of things that drive us further and further away from God. The good news is that what is impossible for man, entering into the Kingdom of God, is possible with God (Matthew 19:26).
Buffington Mohr McNeal purchased a new position in Bancorpsouth Bank (NYSE:BXS) in the first quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund purchased 1,500 shares of the bank’s stock, valued at approximately $42,000.
Other hedge funds also recently made changes to their positions in the company. Founders Capital Management bought a new stake in shares of Bancorpsouth Bank in the fourth quarter worth approximately $26,000. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund grew its stake in shares of Bancorpsouth Bank by 2,755.1% in the fourth quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 928,911 shares of the bank’s stock worth $36,000 after acquiring an additional 896,376 shares during the period. Toronto Dominion Bank bought a new stake in shares of Bancorpsouth Bank in the fourth quarter worth approximately $43,000. NumerixS Investment Technologies Inc grew its stake in shares of Bancorpsouth Bank by 480.0% in the fourth quarter. NumerixS Investment Technologies Inc now owns 2,900 shares of the bank’s stock worth $75,000 after acquiring an additional 2,400 shares during the period. Finally, Meeder Asset Management Inc. bought a new stake in shares of Bancorpsouth Bank in the first quarter worth approximately $101,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 72.74% of the company’s stock. Source
Rather than consider amassing wealth as great gain, Paul states that “godliness with contentment is great gain.” Christ-followers should focus their effort on pursuing holiness in conduct, attitude, and thought. They should choose to be content in whatever circumstances God has given them, just as Paul himself had done while in prison (Philippians 4:11–12). We are told to “flee from all this [eagerness to get rich], and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:11). Contrary to what many popular health-and-wealth proponents would have us believe, the Bible warns us against pursuing riches (Proverbs 23:4; Matthew 6:19). It is impossible to be content when our hearts are set on gaining more. We will not remain godly for long if we are not content with what God has given us. A desire for godliness is quickly eroded by a greedy, covetous spirit.
The Bible never says that it is a sin to be rich. There are examples in Scripture of God blessing His servants with tremendous material wealth (Genesis 39:2; 1 Samuel 18:14; 2 Chronicles 1:11–12). But 1 Timothy 6:17instructs the wealthy this way: “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” The difference is in the heart. Both greed and contentment are states of the heart. When we choose to be content with the riches of Christ (Colossians 1:27; Ephesians 3:8) rather than pursue material riches, our lives will be more in line with God’s desire for us, because “where your treasureis, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21). Source
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