The world, in the terminology of this letter to you, is that structured system which seeks the continuation of the material items and pleasures of the human beings which inhabit it. The buildings, the roads, the infrastructures in all their forms, the list is endless in the production and consumption of all the things of the world. The question here today is how much toil are you generating for that continual production each day, what percentage of your life is devoted to the consumption, the pleasures of the things of the world.
The majority of even the Christians on this planet spend a vast amount of their lives on this treadmill, this continuous production and consumption area, they get up and go to work so that they can purchase fuel for their vehicle so that they can get up and go to work, like a hamster on a wheel, going nowhere as fast as they can. They work so they can produce more, so they can in turn then consume more, a bigger this, a better that, we sacrifice ourselves for ourselves, a life spent in servitude to the world so that we may obtain a better life in that servitude.
If you are one of the approximately seventy-percent of the people that has more than the next ten to fifteen years of life to pay off the debt that you have placed yourself in, if you have put yourself in bondage to the world and its call, (Prov. 22:7) than you are more than likely not going to appreciate this letter. You will speak of the rationalizations, mitigating factors, obligations that demanded an immediate response, an excuse to dive into debt, when the truth that you know is that you choose the path of immediate gratification, the path of pleasure instead of patience. In most cases you can consider this your fault, you are responsible, you would not trust in Christ in what He had given you was enough, and that in His good time and as He saw fit, He would bless you with more of the worlds goods, more to be lost to you anyway. The choice was yours, and you have made the decision to remain in bondage, in continued slavery to possessions, all the while telling others of what you own, when in fact they are owned by the bank, the car dealership, the credit card company, and you are their slave.
There are others of a different sort, those whose paychecks each week belong to them, at least in a sense. They have no debt, at least in their minds, there are of course the so-called necessities of life that they are accountable to, electric, gas, cable and phone, house and vehicle insurance and taxes, for many they are minor fees, bills if you like that roll around every month or so, for others they can be a large part of their expenditures, either way they still continue to rise five or six days a week, toiling in the world for the continuance of the world, the next this, the newer that, never knowing when enough money is enough, planning for a long life instead of a well lived life. The machine, the world, must be kept running, the beast of self-reliance, dedication and wants knows only hunger and is never satisfied.
No my friends, I am not speaking about the lost here, this letter is in reference to those who call themselves Christians, those who attend church, read their Bibles, read devotionals, memorize some Scripture verses, and still step out the door of their houses each day to serve the world of production and consumption, perhaps even putting back some money for a rainy day, an emergency fund, investing for a future they cannot be certain about, and never knowing when enough money is enough, and so they continue to run full speed on the treadmill. You might be quite surprised at just how many of our brothers and sisters in Christ are doing this, working as unto the Lord, (Col. 3:23) but only in truth working for the things of the world and for self.
Sacrificial giving means making sure that their wants are taken care of first, they feel good about themselves, standing in line in front of the widow waiting for her turn to give her two mites, waiting to give her all, while they decide on the percentage they should offer that week. They read examples of others in the Scriptures and wish for those opportunities, and then when they arrive they falter, for dreams and aspirations are of no avail in the land of actions. I will never tire of saying this my friends, there are no rewards in heaven for good intentions, and waiting to serve is not the same as serving. The world offers fleeting things, things of no eternal value, and we strive for them every day, the Lord offers all, and we turn our backs on Him, rejecting Him for the temporal, the transitory, the security of the here and now.
Do you know that there are those who actually think that if the Lord was to take all that they have, house, money, investments, everything, that then would serve Him. If they will not serve Him in plenty, what makes them think they will serve Him greater when all they have is literally the clothes on their backs. And there are the opposite, those who believe that when they retire from the toil of the world, when they have become financially secure, then they will devote the majority of their time to Him. If neither is serving with their whole life now, why would they believe that they would serve then. Have you ever seen a dirt road after a few days of rain? Put your sturdiest shoes on and try to walk down that road for a mile or so, the mud sticking to your shoes, your feet getting heavier and heavier, every step is a challenge, that is what it is like to serve the world, the land of production and consumption, but that probably didn’t change your mind about that service, did it. After all, on that road is a new television, a better vehicle, shoes and a college fund for the kids, vacations, and the money to pay the bills. Hopefully you will not die one step away from that big pile of money that waits at the end of that road.
Those who do not seek the kingdom of God first will not reap the rewards of His kingdom, for they have sown their best seeds in the world, and saved the leftovers for the Lord. Those who continuously seek for the pleasures of this world will not know the wonders of heaven, and those who toil and strive for the things of this world, whether it be for their own welfare, the security of it that they will not see as false security, or for the fear that if they do not continue in the ways and callings of the world of materialism that they will become destitute, either have an extremely weak faith in Christ, or are not even saved, but have deluded themselves into believing so.
Do you know how the Lord shows us where we are in our relationship with Him at any one point in our lives, my friends? He brings trouble, He allows suffering and hardship, but some would rather not be tested, they would rather not be shown what it means to be destitute, to own absolutely nothing, to have to trust in Him completely for food, clothing and a place to rest that night, they are afraid, they do not trust Him that much, and they don’t want to have to. They would rather toil in the world everyday for their so-called security, than to have to trust in Him and His provisions in the land of need.
“The Son of man hath no where to lay his head.” (Luke 9:58) “I hope I don’t end up like that, and I won’t, as long as I keep setting the alarm clock, as long as I continue to work for money, as long as I save money, as long as I trust in money.” I’m not sure which God you are serving, but I sure hope it’s the right one.
“Exalt ye the LORD our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is Holy.” (Psalm 99:5)