Monday, March 16, 2020

Getting And Keeping First Things First

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. (riches or material wealth)” – Matthew 6:24

Someone once said that “Money can buy you anything but happiness ... and can take you anywhere but heaven!” The desire for having more wealth is not limited to those who already have it. The desires of the flesh are insatiable.  There is never enough.  When asked about how much more money a certain rich man needed, who was already a billionaire, he answered, “Just a little bit more.”  Many Haitians call the United States, “money land”. The United States is called the “land of opportunity.” Certainly the standard of living, even for the poor in this country, exceeds the standard for most Haitians.  Abraham Maslow, a psychologist, wrote a paper in 1943 entitled, “A Theory of Human Motivation” in which he described a “hierarchy of needs.” Simply put … each of us has progressive needs that when satisfied give rise to other needs.  The basic needs are physiological.  Food – water – health then safety – shelter and so on.  Once met, we move on to the next one. But how much is enough – for our flesh – the natural man – just a little bit more.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” – 1 Timothy 6:10

It is not wealth or having things that is the problem.  It is when the pursuit of wealth becomes the hope of our now and of our future.  When we place more trust in our 401K than in our Father in heaven.  When we decide we need to build bigger barns.  Have you ever said or thought of a preacher, “All he talks about is money!”?  Why does that bother you so, do you think? Is it because you discern that the preacher has the wrong motive or is it possible that the Spirit is convicting you about your love for that which you will ultimately leave behind for someone else?

I recall a story about a certain man that died and in his will was the direction to sell all he had and purchase gold which was to be placed in his coffin with him. Well, he did die, like we all will one day, and they sold all of his possessions and cashed in all of his investments and converted it to gold bullion.  The put the gold in his coffin and buried him and his treasure.  That which he had sacrificed for all of his life.  As he approached the gates of heaven, he was dragging this coffin with him.  St. Peter asked him, “Bob, what is in the box?” To which Bob relied proudly, “It is that which I spent my life accumulating, I sacrificed everything else, even my family, to have it.” So St. Peter opened the lid and then with a quizzical look on his face asked, “Pavement?”

The moral to the story of course is that the things that men value on earth is not necessarily what God values in heaven.  We are here for 70 or 80 years – we are in heaven of eternity. The next time you hear a sermon on tithing or money, ask yourself – “Is God speaking to my heart. Am I keeping the first things first?”

So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, ‘You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.” – Luke 18:22-23

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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