My wife has graciously allowed me to be a guest blogger this Christmas week as I have a few thoughts I'd like to share with you. So here goes nothing.
As the Christmas holiday is upon us, I once again have found my thought process challenged as it was recently in our church's building campaign. Anytime the subject of money is raised, whether it be for the purchase of gifts at Christmas time or the giving of funds towards a campaign; there is an instinctive tendency to be afraid to spend anything and instead set it aside for a rainy day. What if I'm sacrificing my future? What if I'm giving away our security? What if retirement has to be delayed? Unfounded fear can make you ask some pretty silly questions. The truth is that to most people these questions don't sound so silly, but to the believer they are just that. Our security and our future aren't dependent on the size of our bank accounts, no instead the Lord is the provider and sustainer of all that we have and we are truly blessed to be His caretakers. Luke 12:24 NKJV
So why are we tempted to be fearful? Prosperity, perhaps has blinded our eyes to the needs around us. Now don't get me wrong, we are like most folks living week to week and thankful to be employed and insured, but even with a modest salary, this time of year challenges me to look outward at the needs of others. I believe that the reason God created money and enabled us to earn it is so we could show by the way we use it that money is not our treasure, Christ is.
In Proverbs 6:6-8 NKJV God commends the ant's diligence, not his pursuit of security from accumulation. Contrast that in Luke 12:13-21 NKJV, it isn't the rich man's diligence God rebukes, it's his foolish self-sufficiency, seeking security in what he can store up on earth. But Jesus goes beyond telling us not to build up treasures here on earth, He says "Sell your possessions, and give to the needy". Luke 12:33 NKJV Don't just refrain from building bigger barns, give it way (at least some of it).
Contrary to what our little world's might have us believe, bigger barns do not equal more security. Choosing to live a life as a raven Luke 12:24 NKJV, trusting God for our provisions requires a willingness on our parts to give away what this world encourages us to seek. It sounds crazy and even making such a statement causes me unease, but trusting God in all areas of our lives, including our finances, shows that He is more than sufficient. "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (vs 34)
So here's the question I have for you Songbirds, where are your hearts? Are they linked to your bank accounts, your homes, your jobs or perhaps something else? Christ wants our hearts to be linked with God, not with what's inside our barns. The problem with having bigger barns here on earth is that there is a huge temptation to trust in barns and not in God.
Our compassion need not be expensive, but if it's real it will challenge us to choose a path other than our usual, predictable and comfortable way of life. I want desperately to seek first His kingdom and to trust that our Heavenly Father will continue to provide everything I need when I need it. I pray that when I'm tempted to put in my barn, my treasures that God would remind me that the day to day encounters I have with others are perhaps divine appointments rather than disruptions to my self sufficient way of life. What a wonderful blessing it is when God marries our acts of obedience with the earnest prayers of those in need.
My prayer is that we all venture outside our own little worlds as depicted in the song titled "My Own Little World" sung by Matthew West.
Merry Christmas and have a Blessed New Year!