POSTED ON APRIL 20, 2011:
An Eternal Reward
Give your stuff meaning
It's amazing how we think more money is the answer to all our problems. It's the quick fix, the solution to all of life's complexities.
The reality is that money can buy you a house, but it can't give you a home. It can buy you sex, but it can't buy you love. It can buy you medicine, but it can't give you health. It can't give you the things that most people truly desire.
Here lies the disparity between our core values and our actions. We know that money can't provide us the things we ultimately long for and yet we live like it can. We forsake our family -- for many of us a core value -- for the pursuit of what we believe our family really needs: more stuff.
Lately, my wife and I have been watching episodes of The Secret Millionaire. It's a pretty remarkable show. It depicts wealthy individuals going undercover into non-profits, shelters and organizations that are using whatever they have to meet the needs of people. From underage single moms to individuals living with HIV, to kids with special needs to drug addicts.
At the end of the show the wealthy individuals reveal their identities and give the organizations a large sum of money. It's incredible! I'm in tears every time. Every time the wealthy business owners finally realize how all their success can finally have significance. I don't know about you, but I want to be that person.
I may never give away several hundred thousands or millions but I can do something. I've always heard the phrase, "You will never see a U-Haul truck following a hearse, because you can't take it with you." I love that picture.
Death has a way of giving us perspective. You never see someone surrounded by all their stuff in the final moments of life.
The bottom line is that when we die we can't take all our stuff with us. Most of your stuff will one day end up in the junkyard. In fact, here's a great object lesson for you or your family.
Take a family trip to the junkyard and look around. You will see Christmas and birthday presents. Cars, boats, hot tubs, clothes, stereos and the latest gadgets (in 1987). There might even be a story behind that stuff. It's possible that marriages ended, friendships were ruined, and siblings were torn apart because of that stuff.
Solomon, one of the wisest men in all the bible came to this epiphany late in his life. He writes "I denied myself nothing my eyes desired." In the next few verses he comes to this conclusion:
"Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun." (Ecclesiastes 2:11-12)
So, how can we give eternal significance to our temporary stuff?
I grew up around a married couple that saw everything they owned as an opportunity to bless others. The door of their house was always open, you were welcome to join them for dinner anytime, and if you needed a ride just give them a call. I always remember thinking, "I want to be that couple one day."
How can I use my stuff, my temporary things, to forever bless others? How can I use my future junkyard pile to benefit others?
Jesus was always talking about stuff, usually because there is a deep connection between our money and our heart. (Who would have thought?)
In fact, almost 15 percent of what Christ talked about in scripture was a reference to money and our stuff. It finds its way into 16 of the 38 parables we read in the gospels. While there are nearly 500 verses in the bible on prayer and 500 on faith, there are nearly 2,000 scriptures that specifically address money. So, we get the point that it's important.
In Matthew 6 He 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, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
In other words, what we do for others in this world has a direct impact on what we will have in the world to come. Our treasure here will be destroyed, end up in the junkyard and one day mean absolutely nothing. It's temporary.
On the other hand, everything we do for others, everything of eternal significance, will be a reward for us in eternity. Money given to an individual in need; a bike given to a neighborhood kid; a cup of cold water; an hour of your time; the use of your house.
If we truly believed this biblical principle it would the change the way we live. It would change the way we see our stuff. It would change the way we spend money. It may just change the things we pursue in life.
-(Matt Nelson is the lead pastor at City Church.)
URL for this story: http://www.urbantulsa.comhttp://www.urbantulsa.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A38210