A blog about everything about teaching the Bible. "And still I will show you a more excellent way..." (1 Corinthians 12:31).

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thinking on "Things"

Why do we need so much stuff? What do we get out of it? What is it really costing us? Where is the line? Is there a line? When does one go from lower to middle class, and from middle class to upper? If it’s all really God’s and I’m just a steward, do I act like it, or deep down do I really think it’s all mine? Is it really all mine? Am I generous? Why be generous? How much can I keep and use for me and still be generous? Do I have to tithe? Who’s happier, the rich or poor, or those in-between? If Christians are required to remember the poor, what qualifies as poor? How should good parents handle money and “stuff” with their kids? Does God have plans for “my” money? Does God require me to handle my wealth (or the lack thereof) in a specific way in order to get to heaven?

The Bible has more than 2,000 verses that deal with money or material possessions in one way or another. There are only 1,189 chapters in the Bible, so there are around two verses related to money and “stuff” for every chapter. That’s a lot! It’s obviously an important subject to God. Most are familiar with 1Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils….” But, the Bible also says, “Both riches and honor come from [God]…” (1Chonicles 29:12a). Which is it? Is it both? This is the source of our trouble. There’s nothing wrong with money or “stuff,” but the love of it will destroy your life and others’ and pave the way to hell!

It’s the time of year we call the Holidays in America—arguably the most materialistic time of year. It’s also my favorite time of year. What does that say about me? I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think I’m materialistic. I’ll be thinking about that as deeply and honestly as I can over the next several weeks. I hope you’ll join me. This time of year is the worst for some people, and with most of them I think the reason is money. That’s sad, but does it have to be that way? Between now and the end of the year I intend to write about all the tough questions above. I hope you have very happy holidays this year. I hope they’re filled with blessings both spiritual and material. As you are blessed, I hope you’ll read what I write and join me in thinking on “things.”

Monday, November 19, 2012

Take A Step Back

I know how easy it is to get caught up in the flow of things. If you let it, life will become an endless routine of tasks, appointments, short periods of indulgence, and almost enough rest to replenish the strength needed to drone through another day. It’s the lifestyle in which things are taken for granted and comfortable habit substitutes for true peace, familiarity serves where intimacy is wanting, and dreams melt in the crucible of self-pity. “If only I’d been born into a privileged family.” “If only, if only, if only….” The normal life is being a victim helpless to change the way of the world, but it’s as they say, “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.”

Is the “devil” you know really better? Is the vain pursuit of comfort, and the wealth and status it takes to get it really what life is all about? Are the things everyone around us is clambering for actually worth what you have to give up to get? Your dreams? Your freedom? Forgive me for bringing up these tired old questions again. At the end of your life will you look back over it and wish you’d worked more? Will you regret not having added one more time-consuming activity to your schedule? Will you have made an impact on humanity for the greater good? Will your short life have mattered at all? Will your tight schedule allow you the time to stop and think about this? Do you still have that freedom?

God gave us an ability to think at a level well above the animals. He gave us minds with logic, feeling, and imaginations with which to dream. He gave us love, and has always urged us to humility. He did all of this with a purpose in mind. He wants us to consider why we’re here and arrive at the right answer—which has little to do with whether or not you live in your dream home or can afford to take vacations. It has to do with eternity. That’s something worth thinking about. Jesus challenges us: “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25). So, sometime today, I urge you to take a step back, and think. Think about what’s real and what matters, and, start acting on it. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day Blues (or Reds?)

Will Tennessee have the Election Day “blues” or “reds”? That’s the question each of these United States will answer today by secret ballot. While some people choose not to vote for reasons of conscience, and I respect that; in general, I think the right to vote is a blessing, and I hope everyone who can in good conscience do so, will cast a ballot.

Elections can be irritating, though. We’re elated when “our guy” wins, but tempted to be “down in the dumps” if the other guy wins. It only makes sense. Especially with the big national elections, the guy you vote against is probably ideologically, well, wrong—at least that’s the way you see it. Who wants to have to follow the lead of some guy you totally disagree with?

It concerns me deeply that the nation seems so divided. To have such a close election between two men who claim to stand for polar points of view says a lot about how the gap has widened between two groups of Americans who see the world in very different ways. I believe in radical freedom, independence, and personal responsibility, and that supporting those in need should always and only be voluntary—never forced through taxes. Neither of the candidates exactly represents that idea, but I voted for the one that fit it closest. It baffles me that people would see things any other way! I’m sure you’re confused as to why people don’t see things like you do.

Here’s what I want to say today: It doesn’t actually matter much to me who wins the Presidency. Surprise you? I know for absolutely certain that God has this thing under control. He’s going to work it all out for his glory and in the favor of those who love him and respond to his call (Romans 8:28). There’s literally nothing anyone in the world can do to stop the progress of the cause of Christ (Romans 8:31). He will be with “us” always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20).  The good ole U.S. of A. may be around when Christ returns, or it may not be. I vote my conscience, hoping for the best, but knowing my prayer is worth a trillion votes! My country’s heaven (Philippians 3:20), and my Savior’s coming back for me from there someday! I’m not looking to either Presidential candidate to save me, so no matter the outcome; I won’t be “blue,” or “red.”