A Word for the Week
I was reminded the other day of a scripture that speaks of the time when hearts grow cold and calloused toward God (2 Timothy 4:3) and a 'falling away' occurs as a result. (2 Thessalonians 2:3)
We understand from scripture that these things will occur before Jesus comes again. I've given thought to that on occasion to how that might literally unfold before our eyes; and it is. All you have to do is attend church and count the seats that once were filled faithfully, but no longer. My wife shared with me a few days ago about an article she read on why more and more are attending church less and less. The reason might surprise you. I know this reason wouldn't have been in the top 5 reasons had I been asked that question directly.
It seems, according to this article that the main reason that more and more church members are attending worship less and less is not due to the fact that they don't like attending church nor is it because they don't think it important. The primary reason, according to this post was that many in America have more to spend doing what they want than at any other time in history. That doesn't mean necessarily that it's affordable because nothing is inexpensive today. It just means that a good number of people have found a way to play now and pay later or not pay at all.
As I thought more about this, I was reminded of a young man in the Bible who was very wealthy, very influential and very separated from Jesus. The Word of God describes him as a rich young ruler. (Luke records it in chapter 18:18-25.) It is interesting that he is not named, specifically.
We see this man coming to Jesus, a man who was very poor, by comparison. This young influential individual in the community met Jesus and His disciples on the road of life one day and inquired about the one thing he needed and couldn't buy with gold or silver. His pockets were full but His soul was empty and he knew it. He, like many immediately began to tell the Lord what He had done and Jesus invited Him to do the one thing he hadn't considered. He would be directed to sell all that he had in order to enjoy what he couldn't buy and had never enjoyed; peace in his soul.
Is Jesus against having wealth and what it buys? The answer is simple--NO.
Jesus is against wealth having you and me. Jesus opposes anything that holds you and I back from experiencing His best. What He offers may not get you a front seat in a concert or a BIG ball game but it will provide you a reservation in glory that won't diminish with time.
Question is--is that something you want? Is it something you really desire?
As we get to the conclusion of the story in Luke 18, we see this man make a choice that would change the rest of his life. This nameless young man chose to keep what he had in his hand instead of receiving what he needed most in his heart. The cost was simply too great in his eyes. He had worked too long and sacrificed far too much to just hand it over to someone he had met but didn't know or trust. As a consequence, he remained a nameless individual who lived an aimless life simply because He refused the one thing He was offered by Jesus. LIFE
Have you ever met anyone like that? Did you love them enough to tell them the truth, as Jesus did for this individual?
This young man owned everything he could see and yet had nothing of significance. By contrast, Jesus owned nothing and yet had everything He needed. I read a few days ago that Jesus was born in a virgin womb and buried in a virgin tomb and owned nothing in between. He borrowed boats, donkeys, food and even shelter and yet NEVER begged for anything because He had everything He needed. His detachment to the things of this world freed Him up to be more attached with those that mattered most--His heavenly Father, His disciples and those to whom He was sent to minister.
This may seem to be a really difficult question for some today but it needs to be asked before we get any deeper into this year and miss some valuable opportunities as this person did.
Are you more fearful of losing your 'things' than you are losing the Lord's favor?
Your answer will reveal where you stand before Jesus on the road of life, today. More importantly, the answer will largely determine where you will go from there.
Jim Elliot, missionary martyred by the hands of the Auca Indians is quoted as saying-"A man is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."
Two questions: what is your wealth currently doing FOR you by comparison to what your wealth is currently doing TO you?
Are your choices causing you to follow after or fall away?
For many it basically boils down to Christ OR Cash?
That's the choice most face in the good ole' USA today!
Both are worshiped but only One is worthwhile and enduring.
May the Lord bless His sanctifying work in us this week!
1 Corinthians 15:58