You Can’t Take It With You

I had the pleasure yesterday of working with my in-laws at one of their estate sales (not their personal estate, it’s their business). This five bedroom, three car garage home sat on 1/3 of an acre overlooking the river. The owners probably used their AC a lot less than the average Floridian because the breeze coming off the water cooled the first floor, and I’m sure the sunsets each evening were breath-taking. The greatest part of working at one of these sales is the reminder that you can’t take it with you! From the hundreds of books in the garage to the house itself, it all stayed behind. I think of the American church today, and we are guilty, individually and as a whole, of greed and selfishness. Jesus reminds us that we are to store up for ourselves treasures in heaven. Having “things” isn’t wrong, but the drive to attain more and the pride of having more is indeed sin. Here is a segment of an interview with Francis Chan that helps keep our wealthy status in perspective…

If one hundred people represented the world’s population, fifty-three of those would live on less than $2 a day. Do you realize that if you make $4000 amonth, you automatically make one hundred times the average person on this planet?
Which is more messed up—that we have so much compared to everyone else, or that we don’t think we are rich? That on any given day we might flippantly call ourselves“broke” or “poor”? We are neither of those things. We are rich. Filthy rich.
God’s definition of what matters is pretty straightforward. He measures our lives by how we love. In our culture, even if a pastor doesn’t actually love people, he can still be considered successful as long as he is a gifted speaker, makes his congregation laugh, or prays for “all those poor, suffering people in the world” every Sunday.
But Paul writes that even if “I have all faith, so as to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2–3). Wow. Those are strong and unmistakable words. According to God, we are here to love. Not much else really matters.

I must admit that I am comfortable as I am surrounded by all my “things”. Letting go of all that we have is the biggest obstacle in the American Christian’s life. We have little or no need to rely on God when we are so content in our cushy livestyles. May my eyes be opened to how God is calling me to store up treasures in heaven.

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