Friday, February 17, 2012

Will Money or Riches Bring Me Rest?


Lie #5 – “Financial security and a comfortable lifestyle will fill my life with the satisfaction I am looking for.”

 

Jesus was very specific in warning about this lie when he rebuked a man who asked Him to confront his brother about an inheritance.  Here is how Jesus answered the man: “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” Luke 12:15

 

The Greek meaning of the word “life” in Luke 12 means “the principal of life which concerns the spirit and the soul.” AND in my Zodhiates Word Study of the New Testament, Zodhiates states that this particular form of the word “life” is the noblest form of life and therefore the highest and best which Christ is and which he gives to the saints.  It is a state of highest blessedness.  

What's more is, we learned back on Monday when we were refuting lie #1, that to be “blessed” is to be given full satisfaction.  So if we take the lesson from Monday and add it to the additional information from Luke 12 above we can conclude that the highest state of blessedness, one which Jesus alone can point the way to, is one that is filled with ultimate satisfaction and peace.  Wow! Talk about contentment and a place to find rest – a place filled with utmost satisfaction and peace.

But, in going back to Luke 12 again, Jesus warns that this type of peace does not come by way of the things we possess or even hope to possess.  So much for any truth in equating money or riches with happiness.

Let’s keep looking on at what Luke 12, because Jesus tacks a parable onto the end of the warning stated in verse 15 because He had a lesson behind His warning.  Here is His short and very pointed parable:

“The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’  So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?  Luke 12:16 – 20


What Jesus is teaching here is that the soul’s wealth is not to be ignored for the pursuit of worldly wealth.

And in conclusion, in verse 21, Jesus states:

“So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”


Being rich towards God means having a life filled with all of God’s blessings.  God himself is the treasure and it is in Him that we are the most rich – most rich now in “life” and most rich also when our soul is required before the throne of judgment for eternity. 
So, how do we counteract this lie in our daily lives?  The key is back in the first part of verse 15, the one we started with today.  Jesus says the way to counteract coveting money over Him is to “take heed” and “beware”.  In other words, He is teaching that being watchful of our own sinful tendencies in this area of putting money before God is how we keep the most important treasure before us.

Well, my lesson would not be complete without a story about our house sale, and as you can imagine money plays a prominent role in selling such a large item.  First of all, I have to admit that the desire to rest on financial stability is a hard stronghold to break, especially for those who have been blessed.  For this reason, Jesus taught that it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.  Money is a great distraction and whether you have too much or too little it can become a consuming force to be reckoned with.

Over the year we had our house on the market we were forced to drop the price of our home to the point we lost the total 10 year investment we had put into it.  It seemed that every other month we were prompted by God to lower the price once again, and it was difficult to let go of the money we were hoping to walk away with to purchase our next home.

Yet, over that year God was doing a work on our hearts.  A work in which He wanted to show us just how much more He could provide for us which was over and above what money could afford.  During that year we started to let go of owning a wooded and more secluded property and our hearts started to yearn for a farm. (Now mind you, never in a million years could you have convinced my husband or me just a short 10 years ago that we would enjoy living on a farm.  We both grew up in the city, we loved the activity of the city, and my husband was even apprehensive about owning a dog at that point in our lives.) 

Where God did end up putting our family has floored us in so many ways.  We have the most beautiful farm now and we are not only happily raising our three children in our new space, but we are also raising chickens, cows, sheep, and of course a few dogs and lots of barn cats.  I have to laugh at how God works when we give everything to Him, no matter how risky the future seems from our perspective.  He so desires for us to put Him above everything in our lives and just when we think all of our hopes and dreams are going to be lost, He gives us new hopes and dreams that He desires to fill and bless.   

I pray your life is found in God’s hands today and whatever things you are holding onto in fear that your dreams may disappear if you don’t keep clinging, you have the courage to let go of and to trust God in providing for you.  He has plans to bless your future, but only if you will let go of your plans will He have room to make them happen.

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