“Just tell me what to do and I will do it, Lord. As long as I live, I’ll wholeheartedly obey. Make me walk along the right paths, for I know how delightful they really are. Help me to prefer obedience to making money! Turn me away from wanting any other plan than yours. Revive my heart toward you.” Psalm 119:34-37 TLB
This Is My Journey Unscripted.
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“Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:8NIV
On July 6, I published a post titled “Where is Your Treasure?” It is based on Jesus’ words,
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”Matthew 6: 19-21 NIV
Emma posed this question, “Any advice for someone who needs to be able to support themselves financially and yet, also needs to be careful about how much time is spent on working towards (worldly) success?”
That’s the $64,000 question, isn’t it? Let’s examine God’s Word to find the answer.
The Pharisees asked Jesus’s disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (Matthew 9:11)Jesus answered,
“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:12-13 NIV
Jesus is quoting Hosea 6:6 which explains the meaning of the verse a little more.
“I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.” Hosea 6:6 NLT
I think Jesus is teaching that we can’t live by a set of rules to be checked off. To please God, we must know God, and allow God to change us into the likeness of Christ. Later, the Apostle Paul writes,
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 NIV
We please God when we seek to be like Him through prayer, Bible study , and obedience.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men . . . It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:17 NIV
That tells me that I should do my job with all my heart, as if I was working for the Lord. If we are honest, conscientious, hard-working, and kind to those we work with, it is a testimony to others. Jesus said,
“. . . let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”Matthew 5:16 NIV
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is . . . giving, then give generously” Romans 12:6-8 NIV
I believe the answer to Emma’s question is different for every person. Based on my study, here are some thoughts for you to consider as you study God’s Word.
We all have responsibilities, some more that others. Some have a family to provide for, others do not. I certainly don’t think the Lord calls everyone to live in poverty. Some are given the ministry of giving. How could they give if they didn’t have resources?
We need to be aware of what our spending says about us. If I wear $1,000 sneakers while those around me have holes in their shoes, then something’s not right. I must continually ask God to purify my heart. On the other hand, if I dress similarly to other people I work with, well that seems appropriate.
If my job keeps me so busy that I don’t attend church and don’t have time to read my Bible, something needs to change because I am not being obedient to what God has said in His Word.
If I make a lot of money, but I am a generous giver, helping those in need and seeking God’s will in giving, well that seems right to me. If I make a lot of money and spend it all on lavish gifts for myself, I need to start reading my Bible!
Father, Help me to be more like Jesus. Give me a hunger for your Holy Word and teach me to pray. Create a pure heart in me that I might be pleasing in your sight. I want to know you and walk in love with those around me. Give me a heart like David, a man after your own heart. Then I will know how to walk in your ways and bring honor and glory to your precious name. Amen
Thank you for letting me share my thoughts with you, today. Your thoughts and comments are welcomed and appreciated.
Are we me-centric or Christ-centric? In other words, does what I believe about God focus on what’s in it for me, or does it focus on Christ?
From Genesis to Revelation, everything in the Bible points to Christ and God’s plan to bring salvation to a lost and dying world. The Bible teaches us to die to our old self and become a new creation. 2 Corinthians 5:15 says,
“He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”
The more I study the Bible, the more I see that it isn’t about how God will make us rich, happy and without hardship in this life, for this life is just a whisper. It’s about our life to come, with Jesus in Heaven. In this life, we should strive to be more like Jesus, love God with all our heart, and love our neighbor as ourself.
It’s easy to get caught up in teaching that is all about this life and finding fulfillment and happiness in the here and now. After all, that’s what people want to hear. It’s very appealing and draws huge crowds. But is that what Jesus taught? In Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus told the crowds,
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
This changes our focus from this present life to the life that is to come, with Christ in Heaven. We must ask ourselves this question, “Where is my treasure?”
Our Sunday School lesson was taken from Luke 16:1-9. It can be difficult to understand, depending on which translation you read. We grasped for the true meaning with some difficulty and interesting discussion. I couldn’t wait to get home and search for understanding. Perhaps you studied the same lesson.
Jesus told His disciples a story about a rich man whose financial manager was accused of wasting his possessions. So, naturally the rich man fired his manager.
Worried about his future, the manager took immediate action by reducing the debts of the people who owed money to his master in hopes they would like him and invite him into their homes when he was out of a job.
Jesus said, “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with people of their own kind than are the people of the light.” Luke 16:8
He is saying, “Look, the people of this world are clever. They think about how to prepare for their future. They’re shrewd. But the people of the light (believers) aren’t shrewd in their dealings with money. What!?
Jesus is prompting His disciples to be shrewd, not dishonest, shrewd (wise) with how they use wealth. He tells them that the dishonest manager used money to prepare for the future, and so should they. Then, He compares the people who will welcome the manager into their homes with the new converts who will welcome us into Heaven.
Jesus continues, “Use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.” Luke 16:9
In the blink of an eye, this life will be gone, and so will all our money. But eternity is forever. Jesus is saying the disciples should use their wealth to bring unbelievers to Christ so that these converts will welcome them (the disciples) into their homes in eternity.
In other words, if they were shrewd (like the people of this world), they would be shrewd in preparing for their lives in eternity. They would use worldly wealth to build the kingdom of God.
How do I know this? Because Jesus goes on to say, “… So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” Luke 16:11
What are “true riches”? Well, it’s not worldly wealth. That we know. I believe “true riches” refers to treasure we will receive in Heaven.
In Matthew 6:20 Jesus says, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven...”
Click the link below to read this parable in the Amplified translation.
I spotted a girl in a strange looking outfit. (Kids have some crazy ideas about fashion in middle school.) From across the cafeteria, I tried to see what kind of shirt she was wearing, but couldn’t make out the words. It was something I’d never seen before.
I gazed out at the students as they ate their lunch. They were laughing loudly, talking loudly and having fun. Eventually, I made my way to the other side of the cafeteria. She was a beautiful girl, but my heart sank like lead when I saw what was written on her shirt. It said “Valvoline”.
She wore a wrinkled plaid skirt with the discarded shirt of someone who serviced cars at an instant oil change center. Heart-sick, I looked around at the other girls. Many wore Seaside Beach tee shirts, college team tees, Under Armour, and other designer clothes. The contrast shocked me.
What would it be like to go to Middle School wearing a Valvoline work shirt because that was all you had to wear? Not cool!
And in middle school – the supreme goal is: be cool!
I thought about my own children, grown now, but never having to do without – well, anything! I thought, “Why have Ibeen so blessed?” God answered my question.
” From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke 12:48
It made me think. I definitely fall in the “been given much” group. That means God demands a lot from me and He asks much more from me than from others.
I can’t help everyone. I know that. But I can listen and obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit. That is my responsibility as a Christian.
We must all take an account of our lives. Do our children have to wear cast-aside Valvoline shirts to school? Probably not.
I don’t know what God might ask me to do next, but when He asks I’ll remember the Valvoline Girl, and I won’t be able to ignore the still small voice asking me to help.
What does God’s Word say about it?
“But whoever has the world’s goods (adequate resources), and sees his brother in need, but has no compassion for him, how does the love of God live in him?” 1 John 3:17 AMP
“Blessed is he who has regard for the weak;” Psalm 41:1
“The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.” Proverbs 22:9
“Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.” Proverbs 19:17
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:3-4 NIV
“… we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” Acts 20:35 NIV
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'” Matthew 25:35-40