Friday, August 12, 2011

Getting A Grip On Our Attitude About Wealth

There are a number of people in this world who are breathing a sigh of relief as the financial markets around the world recover somewhat from this week's scare. It's good that some stability starts taking hold but I ask you, for how long? How long before the next crisis, the next scare? There is a lot of nervousness out there right now because countries have mismanaged themselves and now the citizen's are paying the price. Ask the people of Ireland and Greece how secure they are feeling right now. Then ask those in Italy and Spain. Now France is in the cross hairs. The United States is in pretty rough shape and, because of the close relationship, Canada is not looking too good either.

Life cannot be based on money. Our security cannot be found in our finances and possessions. As followers of Jesus we are suppose to understand that we are not to run after the things that people without him run after. He warned us that these things only produce worry, fear and anxiety. Our priority are Kingdom things which are people. The apostle Paul told Timothy that he needed to give special instructions to the rich and I am going to say that these instructions should be adhered to by anyone who longs to be rich:

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. (1 Timothy 6:17)

I love clear instructions and they don't come any clearer than this, but it's not about the words; it's about the heart. Answer this question: What is your hope today? That will tell you where your heart is. Now don't lie to yourself. Be honest. Ask yourself the hard questions. I'll be honest with you, my hope for the last few weeks has been in a cheque that my government owes me. In my mind I have spent that money in at least ten different ways. That cheque represents hope in several different matters and I am shocked how easily hope can be transferred. I am wrong. I am so very wrong. That cheque has yet to arrive but my God has not failed to meet my needs. My hope was misplaced.

Money is uncertain; here today and gone tomorrow, or not here today and gone even further tomorrow. Our hearts should be such that our only hope is in God. No one else can supply our needs and no one else "richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment". That doesn't mean that he provides everything we require so we can have a life based on entertainment. It means that everything that he provides we are to enjoy. There is a difference and it is marked by a heart of thanksgiving. When we spend our time longing for more, being dissatisfied with what we have, we cannot possess at grateful heart and we will be pierced by many griefs. Our heart belongs to God who is our hope and this produces things in us:

Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Timothy 6:18)

Isn't it amazing that it is often those who have the least who are willing to share the most. Could it be because they understand God's priority? James says that we do not have because we do not ask but even when we ask we ask with the wrong attitude, wanting things to benefit us. God is not going to trust us with more when we are unfaithful with the little that we have. Our hearts must be centered correctly so that he knows we are good stewards and he can trust us with more. If God is our hope and his love is our motivation then doing good, being rich in good deeds, being generous and sharing what we have comes naturally. It comes naturally because we realize that we do not possess anything but are simply stewards of them. The only thing we possess is Jesus Christ as he possesses us. Ours is not a life based or dependent on finances:

In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. (1 Timothy 6:19)

Are you taking hold of the life that is truly life or are you pursuing things that are mere whispers of smoke; here today and gone tomorrow? Don't waste your life by pursuing riches that don't make you rich. True riches are found in Jesus and then in the people around you. Invest your treasures where moth and rust cannot destroy them and place your hope in the only thing that is sure in this life: Jesus Christ.

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