Apr 12, 2013

You cannot serve both God & money... be appreciative for what you have... a reminder to give...

The Midwest experienced a freak wind/ice/snow storm in mid-April this year... It has caused slippery roads, massive downed trees & limbs, snow, & major power outages!

My husband actually went in to work and was sent home the other day because power in the whole town had gone out (won't get far as a machinist without electricity!) so it has been nice to be stuck together, but it has also been too quiet and at times... downright boring! We debated how to entertain ourselves without access to the t.v. or the internet! lol - it's sad how pitiful we are!

We're still making memories though - with scrambling for flashlights in the dark and laughing with friends & family by the cozy fireplace before bed... we ended up finding plenty to do to keep busy (including picking up habits that should've already been in place... like experiencing an insatiable hunger for God's Word).

Along with the craziness, God started to reveal something very important to me... I could NOT shake these thoughts! 

I remembered that there were people... MULTITUDES of people who experience such things on a daily basis! No lights, no electronic toys, & certainly no heat or air conditioning when needed! Add to this the lack of clean drinking water, plumbing, or even money to purchase necessary food/clothing... there are TOO MANY that are FAR worse off than we are today.

The next huge realization I got toward the beginning of this storm, was the excess of unimportant & unnecessary things we have inside our home! 

A large branch had fallen onto a power line in our backyard several days ago, which was connected to our house... very near my daughter's bedroom... and the wire was stretched all the way to the ground! I don't know much about electrical fires, but figured it was possible that all I held dear would burst into flame at any moment!!! So I sat in fear with a flashlight and my cellphone waiting for the power company to arrive & fix the problem...

Because I allowed myself to entertain the idea of a possible fire... I considered what I would grab before exiting my home (if possible) before everything went up in flames (theoretically) and I lost everything! 

After my husband, daughter, & self were out - here's what I'd hope to rescue...
  1. Our 3 pets
  2. The journal we've been writing letters to Sarah in since she was born
  3. Each of our baby albums
  4. My laptop & hardrive from our desktop computer which holds thousands of pics & vids of our family
  5. My NKJV Spiritual Warfare bible that has re-awakened my desire to know God fully
... and that's pretty much it! 

Everything else, for the most part, is expendable... replaceable! 

There are very few things in my house that I 'need'... & ultimately only my husband & child (& maybe my pets) are ones I would risk my life for... everything else is just 'stuff' ...just material possessions I can't even take with me to heaven... 

Like my friend Judy just told me, "You won't have a u-haul behind your hearse!"

So why do we still think that 'stuff' is so important? Why do we accumulate so much that we constantly seem to be organizing & searching for places to put it & throwing garage sales & dropping things off in the good-will bin or selling things we no longer want??? 

1 John 2:16 (ESV)
"For all that is in the world - the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions - is not from the Father, but is from the world." 

(meaning we have a worldly, not godly, perspective)
John 14:30 (NIV)
"...for the prince of this world (satan) is coming. He has no hold over Me (Jesus)..."
So let me get this straight... according to these verses... my love of possessions & material things does not come from the Father (God), but from the prince of this world (SATAN)??? 

Houston... we have a problem!!!

I found an interesting video on youtube.com entitled "Satan is ruler of the world" by: John Piper. Right toward the beginning there's a very convicting quote:

"To the degree that your heart is disobedient to God... to that degree are you under the control of satan."   -John Piper-

Well... how is having money or lots of things being disobedient to God? 

Please know that my goal is not to come off as condemning (we own a home, 2 vehicles, & plenty of extras), but I can only convey what I noticed while reading through the book of Luke recently... how Jesus seemed to continually ask His followers to sell all they had, give to the poor, & follow Him! (Luke 18:18-22)

Then there's that verse that pretty much spells out how impossible it is for a rich person (presumably with a love for money) to get into heaven... It'd be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle huh? Interesting... (Luke 18:25) 

Perhaps if you consider (as I did after coming home from our mission trip to Tanzania last year) that everything you have sitting around your house is waiting to bless someone that actually needs it... or that the funds it would bring in are being kept from someone in desperate need...
This is so hard for us to grasp... especially in America where all we could want & yet don't really need is just a wal-mart visit away! We are so spoiled... we really are. You don't have to make as much as a doctor or a lawyer to be considered rich... think of an orphan from a village in Africa walking into your home... would they be shocked with all that you have? Then yeah... you're considered rich...

"No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." Luke 16:13

What I'm going to take from all of this, for now, is that I need to be more aware of how GOD would want me to spend our earnings... there are bills that need to be paid and food that we need to eat and sometimes we actually need new clothes (toddler grows out of hers, holey pants & socks, etc.), but we need to be very aware of how we use our funds! Of how we bless others like the Giver of our 'gifts' would want us to... (Job 1:21)

Also, that we shouldn't just give the "bare minimum" to those in need (a mere 10%)

God calls us to give sacrificially! Give til it hurts! Give all you have! 

Jesus said that a poor woman, who put just a tiny amount into the offering plate (all she had to her name) gave a FAR GREATER gift than the large amount (only a fraction of what they owned) given by the rich because, out of her poverty, she gave all she had! She gave sacrificially. (Luke 21:1-4)

A dear woman who passed away not long ago, Kay, used to have a sign by her kitchen sink that said, "Want what you have" ...I think it's funny how we try to fill that God-shaped hole in our hearts with the things of this world... thinking that if we buy this or that we'll be happy or fulfilled, but I think that the greatest happiness is knowing God's love toward me & blessing others more & more as our relationship deepens & causes me to become more like Him - loving, giving, serving...

Since I'm then content with who I am in Christ, I don't need anything more to be fulfilled... 

so I'm free to give & be a blessing to others.

"Lord help us to understand all we truly need in life... which is You. Amen."

How about you? How has God revealed to you the need/desire to serve & bless others or to purge yourself of the multitude of things around the house? A power outage & risk of fire got me thinking. The opportunity to donate items to sell at a garage sale, to support a missionary family, gave me an easy way to cause all my 'stuff' to bless someone else. Bless you!

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