Section Three: The Lifestyle Characteristics of a Godly Life.
Our current theme: Characteristic Three: Trusting God’s Provision.
Our reading for today: Matthew 6: 19-24 (MsgB)
Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or worse! — stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being. Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have! You can’t worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can’t worship God and Money both.
So let me be totally honest here.
In my fifty-plus years of trekking alongside the Master, doing my very best to become that Christ-centered disciple I truly want to be, there has been an on-going battle with Jesus over who’s actually in control of my life. You see, from a biblical perspective, following Jesus, allowing Him to be our Lord and Savior, means that He’s the One who’s in charge, the One who’s doing the leading…calling the shots; and for the most part, we’re the ones who are supposed to be doing the following. Period.
But here’s the rub.
Deep inside my soul, if I’m truly honest with myself, there is a self-centered, self-consumed man who wants to grab all I can in this lifetime, gathering to myself all the necessary components of life that will make my little world not only manageable, but quite honestly, comfortable, cozy and convenient.
If you’ve never taken the time to explore this greedy little person found deep inside you, I do suggest that you do so immediately, lest these next few blogs on Trusting God’s Provision be wasted. You see, as Paul talks about in his New Testament letters, there is an “old man” inside us; an unredeemed person who ran our lives prior to our involvement with Jesus of Nazareth. This old man (or woman, as the case may be) has a nearly insatiable lust for the things of this world, and while he (or she) has taken a big hit when we decided to place Jesus in control of our lives, don’t be fooled! That old guy (or gal) is still inside us, looking for any and every opportunity to snatch back the steering wheel of our lives, all with the hope of keeping just a few life treasures to be shared only with little ole’ me!
As I see it, that’s why Jesus, in our passage today, comes down pretty hard on His followers on the troubling issue of worshipping money. A pastime, I might add, that’s fairly popular in our society as well today, don’t you think?
Actually, a quick search of the Gospels, finds Jesus addressing money more than one might think. A quick fact search on-line tells us that sixteen of Jesus’ thirty-eight parables concern themselves with how to handle money and possessions, and an amazing one out of ten verses in the Gospels (288 in all) deal directly with money as well! And while we’re on the subject of dollars and sense, here’s another interesting factoid to share with you…Did you know that the Bible contains 500 verses on prayer, less than 500 verses on faith, but more than 2,000 verses on the subject of money and possessions?
I wonder if God is trying to say something here to that greedy little guy (or gal) inside us, warning us that money is so much more than the dollar bills and the silver-clad coins found our pockets? In truth, money (or currency, as it is better known in economic circles) is the shared common power that makes our world go round. And the more currency we have, the more control and power we have to make our way through this life. And let me whisper this so that old man (or woman) inside us won’t hear…
When it comes to controlling our lives, accumulating and stockpiling money is one of the best ways to maintain (and manipulate) circumstances around us.
Shhh. I think he’s listening!
So, as the popular commercial for the well-known credit card goes… “What’s in your wallet?”
If you say “money,” you’re certainly right. But when you say, “Hmm, actually the god of power and control,” now we’re giving a much more accurate description of what’s truly behind that green stuff (or plastic stuff) in our wallets. And when we can see it as clearly as that, we are now on the verge of breaking free from its control and power over us. And as Jesus states it so very clearly here, God alone wants to be our source of power and control in this lifetime and the life to come, and through the Master’s invitation, you and I can follow Him into a freedom rarely experienced by those who stay behind, trusting what’s inside their wallets more than they trust their Creator.
Anybody wanna go on this journey? Come on, let’s go…but leave your wallet behind, ok? That little man (or woman) inside us will keep an eye on it while we’re gone…I’m sure of that!
My prayer: Jesus, it’s very clear here how you see the power and control associated with money fighting against my trusting relationship with God, my Father, and my Provider. Teach me more, Master, about myself, my weaknesses with money, and Your promises to provide for me, as I trust more in You than I do in the contents of my wallet. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: So where, today, am I listening to that “old man” inside me, looking for more power and control of my life circumstances through the use of money and possessions? What might it look like to trust God more for His provision and less on my ability to make things happen?
So what is God speaking to you today as we attempt to live the Christ-centered life?
Over a thirty-six week period, you and I will take a deeper look into twelve key characteristics of a godly life. In other words, we’ll take A Journey into Christian Discipleship. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Journey home page for ease of use. ENJOY!
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