… BUT are not.
1. Myth: “God helps those who help themselves.”
Truth: God helps those who are helpless. Throughout the Bible, it is evident that God has a special heart for the helpless and the vulnerable such as the poor, the widow, the orphan, the foreigner, etc. In the Old Testament days, God gave specific instructions for the care of such people. See Scriptural examples of God’s zealousness for the care and protection of the poor, orphans, widows and the foreigner below. The first example has really strong words of warning from God to the advantaged group.
Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless. Exodus 22:22-24 (NIV).
He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. Deuteronomy 10:18 (NIV)
At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns, so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. Deuteronomy 14:28- 29 (NIV)
Do not deprive the foreigner or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you from there. That is why I command you to do this. Deuteronomy 24:17-22 (NIV)
When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command you to do this.
Deuteronomy 24:19-22 (NIV).
If Boaz and his farm servants had not practiced the command to leave some of the barley sheaves behind them, do you think Ruth would have gotten food for Naomi and herself? (Ruth 2:1-23).
Under the New Testament covenant, Christians are expected to continue to care for the needy. To share is one Bible quote which for me, sums up the subject:
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27 (NIV).
I believe this principle is different from fighting for or claiming what belongs to you as most people interpret the statement above. Even then, when one is at the receiving end of a twisted deal that goes against the person, God will come through for this person when he/she calls on Him. Read the example of the widow and her persistent petition to a godless judge, from Luke 18:1-8.
2. Myth: “Money is the root of all evil”
Truth: For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, (1 Timothy 6: 10: NIV). Some Bible versions say, “a root” while other say, “the root”. Discussions about money seem to be a thorny issue for most people. Is it because there is never enough? I don’t know. There are many pastors who would rather not talk about money or preach about money in their congregations; they often condemn their follow pastors who preach the “prosperity gospel”. The “prosperity gospel” pastors seem to excessively preach about money and wealth to the point of disregarding the message of first import: the salvation of lost souls. These are the two extremes. But whatever position one stands for or whether a person does not have any position at all, money is a necessity that one can’t live without. Just know this… it is the love (greediness) of money which is the problem, not the money itself.
May the LORD bless as all as we confound myths with the truth of God’s Word.