Jul 19, 2009

You can't take it with you...

Hudson Community Chapel - Hudson, OH www.hudsonchapel.org

It's not often that I walk out of church thinking "I should blog about the sermon". Not because our sermons aren't good--they consistently are! But because today's seemed very relevant especially for folks about my age who are well beyond "middle age" shall we say. But I did have that thought today, and so I'd like to share some of it with you faithful readers.

(Our sermon today was given by a young man who is the Director of Student Ministries, John Coleman. Maybe I was extra touched because John reminded me of our son, Andy, who is 29 and became an ordained pastor this past January. How wonderful to see the faith of our fathers being passed from generation to generation by young adults equipped to faithfully preach the Word.)

A certain ruler asked him (Jesus), "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother." "All these things I have kept since I was a boy," he said. When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. (Luke 18:23 NIV)

Now, I don't believe Jesus was telling this rich man that no one can inherit eternal life unless he sells all his possessions and gives them to the poor. But Jesus knew this man's heart of hearts, as He knows ours. He knew that for this man, all his worldly "stuff" was a hindrance to him clearly understanding what was required of him. His problem wasn't that he was rich...his problem was that he held tightly to all the things in his life that made him feel he had some big advantage. Jesus knew that when this man died, he could not take a single thing with him that had meant so much during his lifetime. And Jesus knew this man gave far too much weight to those things.

Jesus longed for this man, rather, to take an eternal perspective of his life...and understand something He once told another rich fool: "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." (Luke 12:15 NIV)

The abundance of possessions. Why is it that we just can never seem to have enough stuff? One thing I have tried to do the older I have gotten is to learn to hold material things a lot more loosely. As I've said before I like nice things. I don't deny that. And often I have replaced nice things with nicer things, if you get my drift. I don't think that is necessarily wrong. But it doesn't hurt to periodically take inventory to check ourselves and see just how tight we are holding on to the material things God's blessings have enabled us to enjoy.

I don't want to make this too long, or wander too far from John's sermon, but especially for those of us who know beyond a doubt that the years of life we may have ahead of us are far fewer than the years behind us, we will be wise to invest in treasure that will last beyond our lifetimes.

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is there your heart will be also."(Matthew 6:19-21 NIV)

God bless us, everyone!


Rose said...

Storing up treasures has been the bane of my existance at times. I am a pack rat. I love things, but I too am finding less and less comfort in some of these things and wonder why I have kept them over the years. Lately I have been purging which if you knew me, you would understand that is a really big deal and the best part is, I am not done!
I don't want my "things" to stand in the way of me and my walk with God. Thank you for the reminder and I enjoyed reading this very much! Have a blessed day.

Jacquelyn said...

Thank you Rose. I love "collecting" also...but you are so right in saying our things don't give us comfort forever. One of my greatest fears is that I will die or become incapacitated before I get my basement cleaned out. I'm even fearful of having people over during tornado season, lest we would have to go to the basement during a warning. This actually happened to me once, and I was beyond mortified. All those boxes of STUFF and junk everywhere! I have been purging as well, so I know exactly what a big deal it is. Thanks for your encouraging comment!

Wanda said...

It's the memories that count in life!

I just read your comment about the cake recipe...I left you a reply...but came in person :)...It's just a BC cake mix...with 2TB. less of water and & 2TB. more of oil...I frost with BC choc. frosting, when cake is still just ever so slightly warm...stays moist and denser by doing this...For the chocolate creme center I blend some choc. and vanilla frosting...about equal parts. Then top with chopped heath candy bars and chopped pecans on the side...drizzle with any melted choc. or syrup...then a cherry on top of course...I just assumed you really wanted the recipe :)

Mostly I came to tell you I use peaches with the berries too in my cobblers and crisps...
and that you made me hungry for that!!!

Wanda said...

I goofed again...it's a BC Triple Chocolate Fudge cake mix!

Jacquelyn said...

oooo this cake sounds soo good! I definitely need to give it a try...THANK YOU WANDA!!