Life Notes—August 26, 2010
Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?” Hebrews 13:5-6
Faith questions are convicting. It is easy (on Sunday) to say, sing or pray “I trust in the Lord, my God!” It is difficult to live out that trust when the going gets tough, like on Monday morning. To have the kind of faith Paul writes about in his letter to the Hebrews, we should not fear anything…ever! If we truly believe God will never leave or forsake us, what could we possibly fear? And yet, if you are like me, we fear plenty. We fear, especially, for money. We need money to eat and pay for life’s necessities. We need money for our kids’ education, healthcare, vacations and retirement. Is Paul telling us we should trust God to provide money for our needs? What if God’s definition of a need, and God’s definition of meeting that need differs significantly from our definition?
I think this is the heart of the issue. Few people in the United States today need to seriously worry about starving to death. A cup or two of rice per person per day would probably sustain most of us. Well…..technically, yes; but who among us would willingly give up the quantity, quality and variety of food choices we enjoy for a couple bowls of rice? If that is the type of provision we may expect to receive from God, are we really willing to trust God for our daily bread? Obviously, millions of people in the world would be thrilled to be guaranteed a cup or two of rice per day. Probably not most of us. So we work for, and worry about, having enough money to feed our expectations.
In the passage above Paul writes, “Keep your lives free from the love of money…” I believe the challenge for us lies in context of the place and times of our lives. Our faith question is not likely between a cup of rice and a cup of nothing. Rather, we are challenged to strike a balance between the resources we have, the personal “needs” we choose to indulge, and the needs of others. This challenge is magnified in difficult economic times when many are forced to downsize houses, cars and eating out. Yet, the Bible calls us to a simpler, less resource-intensive way of life. How much simpler and how much less resource-intensive is our personal challenge. The less we utilize, the more is available for use by others. This is our challenge: Do we love money, or what it can do for us, more than we love and care for our neighbors? Can we trust more in, and be content with God’s provision for us, when that means more for others with greater needs?
Tom’s sermon downtown will be “Hospitality to Strangers,” based on Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16. Mitch will be preaching at the west campus. Life worship begins at 9:40 in Brady hall. Traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00 in the sanctuary. Contemporary worship at the west campus is at 9:30.
Come home to worship this Sunday. Strugglers welcome!
Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator