Does it own YOU?

MacKenzie Scott, once married to Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, gave away $4 billion to various groups that are working to help people who are economically disadvantaged. She wrote that she was responding to the fact that “This pandemic has been a wrecking ball in the lives of Americans already struggling.”  Among the beneficiaries are 36 colleges that primarily educate students from lower-income families. Ms.Scott is the number 60 on the list of wealth in the world with a fortune that grew by over $23billion this year alone! 

Reading of this in the New York Times today, there were two thoughts that immediately came to mind –  First, good for her! Second, what would I do with that kind of wealth?  Then I realized that God asks ME to be faithful with what He has given to me!

So, what’s your treasure?  Those of us accustomed to a life that includes internet, cars, cell phones, abundant food, and plenty of clean water hold fairly tightly to our material goods. We treasure the good life. Most of us are convinced that IF we had wealth like Ms. Scott we would certainly be generous but how can we give away our treasure if we have less? Or, we are convinced if we had more stuff we would find greater happiness.

Luke records a story of a wealthy man who came to Jesus inquiring about gaining eternal life.  The meaning of that story eludes many people who wrongly conclude that Jesus was condemning wealth and demanding poverty of us all.  But, was He? ” A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’” “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.

When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” (Luke 18:18-27, NIV)

The thing that stood between that earnest young man and God was not the wealth with which he was privileged. It was the illusion of self-sufficiency that the wealth created! When asked about his moral choices, he was able to point to a record of stellar accomplishment, honesty, and honoring his parents.  The fact that Jesus let his answer stand without challenge tells me that the young man was truthful about these things. 

So, if it was not a lack of morality that stood in the way of a relationship with God, what was it?  It was his desire to own his life. Jesus went to the heart of the matter when He told that man, “Go sell everything, then come and follow me!”  That rich young man would not do it.  His wealth was his security.

Jesus reveals an issue for every person who has enough money to feel in control of life:  “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

Why? Does God hate wealth? Not at all.  

Money can give the ability to temporarily satisfy the soul hunger with things, creating personal comfort, and even gaining admiration numbing our soul hunger, hindering our desire for the life of the Spirit.  Money can trick us into thinking that we can ‘buy our way’ through life even our reconciliation to our Father.  In these choices wealth turns into a god to us.  That is why Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters … he will hate the one and love the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Luke 6:24)

So, Christian, where is YOUR treasure?
Do the things you claim to own in reality own YOU?
Does the status that comes along with your stuff give your life its purpose?

By the way, if you’re reading this and thinking that His words are only for those with $billions, think again! Yes, there is surely hardship in America, but the fact is that the vast majority of us enjoy a standard of life that is far better than much of the rest of the world’s population. Do NOT feel guilty about having resources. Rather see them for what they are, a sacred trust that God has given you. Instead of serving your stuff, let your ‘stuff’ work for Him. The Word says “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” (1 Corinthians 4:2, NIV)

The word from the Word is a familiar passage. As we near the end of 2020, it is a good time to consider what we are holding onto and what we are willing to give way.

Allow the Holy Spirit to help you to see beyond Jesus’ words, that He would turn them into living truth.
“Don’t store up treasures on earth! Moths and rust can destroy them, and thieves can break in and steal them. Instead, store up your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy them, and thieves cannot break in and steal them.
Your heart will always be where your treasure is. …
I tell you not to worry about your life. Don’t worry about having something to eat, drink, or wear. Isn’t life more than food or clothing? …
Don’t worry and ask yourselves, “Will we have anything to eat? Will we have anything to drink? Will we have any clothes to wear?” Only people who don’t know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father in heaven knows that you need all of these. But more than anything else, put God’s work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well
.” (Matthew 6, CEV)


Build My Life a song about true worship)

Worthy of ev’ry song we could ever sing
Worthy of all the praise we could ever bring
Worthy of ev’ry breath we could ever breathe
We live for You

Jesus the name above ev’ry other name
Jesus the only one who could ever save
Worthy of ev’ry breath we could ever breathe
We live for You
We live for You

Holy there is no one like You
There is none besides You
Open up my eyes in wonder and show me who You are
And fill me with Your heart
And lead me in Your love to those around me

I will build my life upon Your love
It is a firm foundation
I will put my trust in You alone
And I will not be shaken

Brett Younker | Karl Martin | Kirby Elizabeth Kaple | Matt Redman | Pat Barrett © 2016 Martin, Karl Andrew

CCLI License # 810055

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