Unspoken: I Lift my Life Up

Thursday, October 29, 2015

"Well if you put it THAT Way!!"

1 Tim 6:6b-8
...men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.

This passage is so interesting to me.  There are men, (and we all could name a few) who use the Bible and the Christian life, to make money and to feed their pride.  That is how their godliness is great gain.  
And yes, Timothy says: Godliness actually IS a means of great gain---and here's the punch line--only when accompanied by contentment.  So that brings up a couple of issues.

1) What is the gain to be gotten if not monetary?  If not mammoth churches? If not designer suits and dresses? If not the admiration of the masses?
Any of you who  have walked with the Lord for some time, can probably make a list of what they have gained.  Mercy.  A family of believers.  Forgiveness for our greatest and smallest failures.  The day to day, minute by minute assistance and presence of the Lord God.  A future of unimaginable wonder--so much so that earthly trials are meaningless--except for the rewards in Eternity and the way they have carved our character. And I could go on, but you get my point. And because these rewards will accompany us into Heaven but nothing of the physical world will accompany us, we can see what is truly important

2) Let's look at the idea of contentment.  "If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content."
That means there should be nothing in the stores or online that calls our name and promises happiness should we obtain it.  It means (and I'm talking to myself here)  that there should not be so many things in a house that there is clutter or lack of room to put anything else.  You know what? I am  relieved that my "junk" will not accompany me to heaven.  I want to be rid of it. But if you pick up an item and say "what about this? Do you need this?" I will have ten reasons why it is essential for me to keep it.  Aren't we foolish? Isn't the enemy so adept at using greed and discontentment?  And elsewhere in Scripture it said that discontentment, gluttony, and greed are actually idolatry. What is that?? It is to break #1 of the Ten Commandments.  "You shall have no other gods before me".  

"Wait!" you say. " I am not worshiping my stuff...."

Do you go to the mall more frequently than you go to church? 
Does more money go to God's work or to charity where it aids those in need or in danger?Or does more end up in the thousand other things we spend our money on.?
If something breaks do you immediately replace it with something bigger and better?
Do you read your Bible more than you read novels or watch TV?

WELL, If you put it THAT way....

I don't put it that way.  God does.  We are to love him and him only when it comes to the way we handle our possessions. He is to get the first-fruits of our time and money.  That doesn't mean we are to give God the leftovers....the little bit of money we have left at the end of our pay period or the change in our pockets or purses....It means we pay what we owe God FIRST and then trust him to meet any needs that result from our generous giving.   

When Solomon was building the temple and when Moses was building the Ark of the Covenant  and when King Josiah was repairing the temple which had been misused and torn apart: the people of Israel were so excited about the Lord that they willingly poured out their gold jewelry and fine fabrics...They worked long hard hours to build a meeting place between God and man.   They were so generous that Moses, Solomon and Josiah had to say "STOP!!" because they had more than enough and had no room to put any more.

Why,  I must ask myself and you.  Why does the church struggle to meet their budget?  Why is everyone too busy to serve in the church , either teaching or being on a committee, or to come to prayer meeting?  TIME is a gift as well that we can give God....and if we aren't then our schedules have become our gods.

Discontent.  This has been our motivator..the drive behind how we spend our money.  Our homes have to be bigger and better....our foods cooked to perfection...our electronics, the latest thing.  Discontent. rules supreme.  When it is the Lord of Heaven and our relationship with him that should be getting the best of our time, efforts and gifts.

"Worship the Lord with ALL your heart. Serve him and him only".  "You cannot serve both God and Mammon" (which means the things of the world).  Was Jesus being a little extreme by this statement? No he wasn't ....and if that doesn't scare you then you are either more holy than I  or you are dead to conviction which can be an even bigger problem.

I confess I bought a tea-for-one service a couple of days ago...and I already had two.  I lusted after it.  Even though initially I left it in the thrift store...I had to go back several days later, to purchase it. I am rethinking that decision now.

I have a lot to ponder after writing this.  I am not sitting over you as judge.  I am sharing with  you the things that God has put on my heart in regards to my own life...and I know that gluttony and greed are common problems.
 
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