Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Idols of Wealth

"How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!" Mark 10:24

Jesus has harsh things to say about wealth. "Woe to you who are rich," He says in Luke 6:24. "A man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions," He says in Luke 12:15. He tells parables that cast a bad light on the wealthy (the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16, for example). And here in Mark 10, He tells His disciples that "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" (vs. 25).

Many of us who read these verses are incredibly wealthy, by worldwide standards, and so we spiritualize them. Jesus is really talking about those who place their hope in riches, we determine. And because we know that salvation is a matter of the heart and not of the bank account, we are right to do so. But we miss an important lesson if we dismiss these warnings too quickly.

The lesson is this: There is false worship in every human heart, and Jesus knows that all of it has some component of wealth. We either seek wealth and materialism as an idol in itself, or we have other idols that we cannot support without more money (approval of others, achievement, education, lifestyles, hobbies, food, fashion etc.). Almost any idol we can conceive of revolves around money as its object or for its sustenance. And when we harbor such idols, the kingdom of God is like the eye of a needle to us. We just can't fit.

What idols grip your heart? Whatever they are, cut off their supply. They are fed by wealth, and they consume the kingdom's resources, giving nothing of substance in return. If we are to live as kingdom citizens, we must turn our hearts toward kingdom purposes. Our wealth, our time, our abilities-all resources God has given us-must be invested in lasting goals. Our treasure will be where our heart is. And our hearts are in the Kingdom.
by Chris Tiegreen.

I couldn't help but post this devotional today. I don't think that we can hear this message too much in our culture. It is very evident that the church is living for the same things the world lives for. If we are going to enter the Kingdom of God and advance it....we are going to have to let the things of the world go. We are to treasure Christ above all the accumulation of stuff and lay up treasure in heaven not on earth.

As John Piper says....The world will not glorify Christ because they see that Christians are wealthy, healthy and prosperous because that is what they live for. They are not impressed with us- prosperous, safe, middle class, do what every body else does kind of church. Our great reward is in heaven with Christ! We are to be so profoundly heavenly minded that we are free from this world. Free from stuff. Stuff....Stuff! Stuff is killing us. Houses, cars, books, computers, electronic gadgets are killing us.

What is it going to take to see that Christ is our treasure and not our stuff? Until we get this and let it go....we will have little or no impact in the Kingdom. That should break our hearts!


Allison said...

Brittnie, this very thing has been on my mind so much lately. We need to catch up soooooon!!!