I’m thinking deeply on several different fronts this week and this usually doesn’t allow for me to write in a manner that blesses the reader. Long, long paragraphs and layer upon layer of detail kind of dominate me when I’m in a mindset like this so I’m going to give you a surrogate blessing today by sharing one of my mother-in-law’s posts from her blog while she was still with us. Deborah is a woman of God and I miss her so much. I see flashes of her in Amy and Alicia but I’d give just about anything to spend an afternoon with her again. Because of God’s grace, there will be an uninterrupted eternity with her and I suppose we will get caught up then. Enjoy her wisdom today. – Jeff
Rich In What Matters!
A few weeks ago, the precious ones had a sleepover with us and as Landon looked around the house, I guess to see if anything had changed since the last trip, he asked me- “MaMa, are you rich?” I had to smile, firstly, because Grandanny and I have a very humble home and secondly, I remembered that Alicia, around age five, had also asked me the question one day as she accompanied me to the bank to deposit twenty $100 bills so we could pay SOME of the bills for that month. She thought it was a lot of money! 😉 Maybe, when they start to school, they begin to hear “rich and poor”, do you suppose?
I thought of their question to which I answered, “No, we aren’t rich.” This week I pulled from my bookshelf a book entitled When The Game Is Over, It All Goes Back In The Box by John Ortberg. All of you remember playing the game of Monopoly, don’t you? I, being the “too-reflective, play-it-safe” personality, was never very good at it but my risk-takeing husband always won because he bought all the properties he landed on, acquired the houses and motels while all the money seemed to always pile up on his side of the board. I always lost but I also always gained a little satisfaction as my “smirking sweetie” put all of that “stuff” back in the cardboard box. “See”, I muttered under my breath, “it really didn’t mean a thing!” Jesus told a story in Luke 12 of a materially rich man who thought his life consisted of what he owned but discovered too late that “it all goes back in the box.” Jesus reminded the disciples in vs 21 that the man’s life work and wealth didn’t mean a thing. He added this spiritual application: “So is he who lays up treasures for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
Now, quickly, Scripture doesn’t condemn being wealthy- “the love of money is the root of all evil”, not money itself but if you are one who reads today whom God has entrusted with wealth, you are instructed not to trust in it and to look for opportunities to use it to help people and glorify God (1 Tim. 6:17-19). I answered my grandchildren with an honest “no” because I knew they both were speaking of monetary wealth. Yet there is a richness that the Bible speaks of – things that are laid up eternally – that I want both of them to see in my life. There are assets that don’t go back in the box. Actually, these tents that the “real us” dwell in, our bodies, if Jesus doesn’t return first, will go in a box one day (your casket) but what we did for Him and others in His Name will be laid up in Heaven.
Why, if we, as Bible-believing people really believe that – why do we spend so much of our time, energy, and resources as if we don’t? We are so prone, because of our fallen nature, to focus on the temporal which will pass away while ignoring the eternal values for which we should be living our lives . Yes, Alicia and Landon, your MaMa is rich- rich because of the riches of God’s grace- Eph. 1:7. Rich, because of the riches of God’s kindness, forbearance,and patience and hopefully extravagantly pouring those out for others because He has lavishly given them to me. I want them and others to see a life from me “rich in faith” James 2:5 and “rich in good works.” 1 Tim. 6:18. Yes, just those two phrases from His precious word bring to mind what is most important – God and people. Growing in faith toward God and doing good to people- those attributes do not go back in the box. It’s a challenging thought today, isn’t it, for all of us who are in God’s family through faith in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ? What are we spending our lives on? Let me leave you with a quote from a man named Epictetus- ” “This is our predicament. Over and over again, we lose sight of what is important and what isn’t.” Help us, Lord, to discover and apply what it means to be “rich towards God.” Help us, Lord, to hold loosely to that which can fly away in an instant, not to be greedy nor proud about what we do have but to realize that all gifts come from You and are to be used for Your glory! Help us, Lord, if we are in the class of living paycheck to paycheck and many are today in this failing economy, to know our Heavenly Father is our Provider. Help us to come to terms with the truth that our children value our time more than our things. Help us, Father, to leave a legacy that our loved ones know we were rich in those things that matter to You!
Looking up, Deborah
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