Pastor’s Desk September 24th

Scripture Passage:  “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consists not in the abundance of the things he possesses.”  Luke 12:15      “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”  Colossians 3:2
Dear Friends, Much is said in our culture about a person’s value or worth.  Most of the time that value is measured in some way based upon money and possessions.  The more money they have access to, the more valuable they are to family, community, and even church.  Their success in life is evaluated according to the things they possess.  A person driving a Lexus is considered more successful than a person driving a Focus.  A person living in a three story house is seen as a person of means, while a person living in a double-wide is viewed as a person just getting by. The more stuff in the garage and adult toys in the yard are visible evidence of a person who is “going and blowing.”  The truth is most of the time these are signs of a person deeply in debt.  Loss of job, income, or health expose and reveal a person’s true worth compared to the things they possess.  To a materialistic person, once their stuff is gone, so is their value or worth.  To a person whose life is built on the “Rock,” it simply reinforces where their priorities lie.
It has always been a part of Jewish cultural belief that a man with wealth and prominence is known as a man who has the favor of God.  A man that is destitute and poor must have sinned against God in some way and is being punished. Jesus made it clear that we would have the poor with us always.  He also said that if our righteousness did not exceed that of the religious sect we would not see the kingdom of God.  This tells me Jesus places more value on the person than the material wealth they possess.  He also measures worth by what is given away more than what is taken in.  In the end, we are known more for what we leave behind in the form of needs met, rather than what is accumulated in the bank.
My final thought is on setting your affections on things above.  Jesus said where a man’s treasure is, his heart will be also.  One of the hardest things for a young person to do is save money.  They see the benefit of buying what they want right now because it is instant gratification.  To put money in the bank or make an investment will benefit them more down the road, but they have nothing tangible to show right now.  It is also hard for them to make charitable contributions.  The money leaves and there is no product to be received or friendship to be made.  The only benefit is a warm fuzzy feeling and a possible tax deduction.  So why do we do it?  For me, it is as simple as this.  Jesus said when we do these things unto the least of these my brothers, we do them unto Him.  So I view it as giving back unto Jesus, not unto man.  Secondly, I am laying up treasures in Heaven.  Nothing can destroy my treasures and no one can take them away from me.  It is also drawing all the “interests” Heaven holds in stock.  So let us set our affections on things above where the eternal benefits are out of this world.
In Christ, Pastor Johnny