I'm sorry that I have been out of touch for so long. I hope I never go that far between bloggings again. It was just a busy time what with our first Thanksgiving and Christmas in Bolivia along with various birthdays, SIM celebrations and also my first oral exam in Spanish, but more on all of these later. First I wanted to add one more thing about my last post concerning toys, tools, and treasures several weeks back. This is a postscript to my last blog entry.
One more thing about toys, tools and treasures: What is money? Firstly, money is not a treasure. The Bible says that the love of money is the root of all evil. If money is my treasure I will live a life of greed and emptiness....always wanting more and never having enough because no matter how much more I get, I want just a bit more. We are not to set our affection on the amount of our bank accounts. I learned a long time ago that my security is not in how much money I have now or how much I'm saving for the future. My security comes from my Lord. No one can take that from me.
We have lived on the generosity of God's people for the last 20 years....first in the pastorate and now as missionaries. Because of the obedience to God of these people and their love for us, we have plenty. We have been well provided for. I am grateful for that. Yet, my gratitude is for the people, and above all for my God who prompted them to care for us, not in the dollars that they have given. Everything I have is a gift. It was given to me by the loving hand of my Father. As they say I came into this world with nothing. I will leave with only the things I have done for the kingdom of God. Nothing more.
Now before you say that doesn't apply to you because you have a 'real' job, let me tell you I felt the same way when Joe worked at General Motors or at the various jobs he had to meet our needs. Every dollar we had was a gift from God. It was provided by Him. Sure He used GM to do that just as now He uses His people to provide for us, but if he didn't use GM he would use something else. It was God who was meeting our needs then and God who is meeting our needs now. If all my money blows away tomorrow, if all our supporters stop giving, God is still my security. He will provide for my needs. If my bank account is overflowing, it's not what I trust in to take care of me. I trust in the Lord. If I mistakenly think that money is my treasure and my security, I will sacrifice what ever I have to in order to get more. This leads to a life of greed and envy. But if God is my treasure and my security, I will gladly sacrifice what ever He asks in order to serve the One who meets all my needs.
Secondly, money is not a toy. If I think that money is a toy to be used for my pleasure I will live a life of materialism and selfishness spending my money on whatever I want...whatever strikes my fancy. Sure I might occasionally give to someone else or some good cause, yet in my heart I desire to spend my money on what brings me the most pleasure. I will even become jealous of others who have things I'd like to have and develop bitterness for what I see as my lack. Money is not to be treated frivolously. It is to be taken seriously. The Bible teaching much about money and it's uses.
Money is simply a tool. Something I use. A means to an end. A way to invest in the lives of people and the kingdom of God. God is very interested in the way that we use this tool. I was just reading the story of the widow's mite. I saw something I've never seen before. In Mark it says that Jesus sat down opposite of the place that people were putting in their offerings WATCHING as they put in money. He was looking at what they were giving. Today especially in North American culture, I think we try to respect each other's privacy in what they give, but here it says that Jesus was watching what they gave and even commented on it to His disciples. God is very interested in what we do with our money. Not only is it a tool for us, it is a tool for Him as well. A way He can measure our devotion. Just something to think about.
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth....but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven" Matt 6:19-20