Practical Proverbial, from 1 Timothy, 14 February 2019

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.  1 Timothy 6:10 (NIV).

This is a greatly mis-quoted verse.   Money itself isn’t the root of all kinds of evil; money is just a tool, even a blessing, that God gives to us.   Loving the tool more than the God who gives it is what is the root of all kinds of evil.   It’s the starting point down paths that lead away from Him.  I know plenty of wealthy people who struggle to keep it together; I know plenty of poor people who do the same yet seem more contented (or is it resigned) with their lot.

Thank God I’m poor, right?   I mean, I’ve been working for over 30 years now and I don’t seem to get ahead.  Well-paying jobs pay me well and it all seems to go out the door.   At this pace, I’ll be working until noon on the day of my funeral.  Perhaps “poor” isn’t the best word since, by the standards of poverty, my family is no where near that.   Perhaps the better description is “monetarily challenged.”

So be it.  It doesn’t keep me up at night.   I choose a different path.

Don’t get me wrong:   I like a buck as much as the next guy.   And I plan on working until I’m 72-74 to make sure I have done all I can to enjoy retirement.   Besides, I enjoy work.   I look at it as a blessing, as a way to use the talents God gave me to better do His work for me in the world.   That includes my career.

Perhaps I’ve learned to be content with how God provides.  That’s a lesson that didn’t come easily after watching my parents financially struggle for decades.  Then making irresponsible choices with my own money, spending too much and investing too little.   Yet through it all, the antidote to loving money is remembering that, every day, God provides abundantly whether we’re monetarily poor or rich.   It seems cliché but if you wake up, God has provided.   If you’re breathing, rested, drinking water, God has provided.  No matter what condition you’re in, if you’re above room temperature, then God has provided all you need to start the day and meet what’s up ahead.   Let’s be content with that first and let the rest come as it will.

Love God and not the money He provides.   When you do that, it becomes easy to become content and realize He’s going to provide whatever we need in all circumstances.   That, and start to tithe.   But let’s save that subject for a different discussion.

For further reading:   1 Timothy 6:11.

Provider Lord, forgive me when I focus more on money and earning than on You and the blessings You give.  Thank You for giving me today, and help me to use today wisely.   

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Practical Proverbial, from Hebrews, 7 February 2017

 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.  Hebrews 7, verses 23-25.

We need consistency.   Frankly, consistency is one of the best things about faith in Jesus.   He’s always the same, He is always fair, He is always just, He is always there; hey, that rhymes!   He is consistent, constant, and always present when you need Him (or even when you think you don’t).  As Hebrews 13 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”   Amen to that.  Yet consider this:   Jesus doesn’t need to be consistent.   He doesn’t need that constancy, or fairness, or sameness.   We do.

It has always baffled me why folks reject faith in Jesus.   Why would a decent, upright soul not want to follow Jesus?   Reject Christianity, religion, Protestantism all the live-long day (or Catholicism, maybe even Orthodoxy as well); I may even join you.   Far as I’m concerned, we can sell every church building in the country and use the proceeds to BE the church instead of meeting in one.  Practice of the Christian religion by Christians has given Christianity a really bad name.   If you’re stuck on your liturgy or hymnals, your ‘infallible’ doctrines, your rock band performances (or the cherubic choir), the beautiful sanctuary with the comfy cozy pews, or even your motivated pastor, maybe you need a gut check.   Jesus is about relationship, about discipling, about serving, about love.   None of those other things are really about love, are they?   If your ‘church’ is about the worship service and not worshipping Jesus in service, try walking out one Sunday and trying something different.

All that ragging aside, if anything about your church or practicing your faith is encouraged by the things I’ve derided, then all glory to Jesus and keep on keeping on with them.  They should (and perhaps do) point to Jesus because He’s consistent and constant.   Like a solid reference, we as humans need Him to be unchanging.   Everything not of Him is sin or is, at least, tainted by the possibility of sin.  The more you look at things not of Jesus, too, the more you find they’re inconsistent, transient.   All things aside from Christ are temporary.   They don’t last.   Pyramids?   Slowly decaying.   Scientology?   Please.   Money?   Never enough.   All your possessions?   Nice but when you die they aren’t yours anymore.   Even the land:   please, again; just another possession, and that deed you and I always work for will only be ours for a short time before it passes to someone else.

Standing beside all those other things is Jesus, who remains just as He was and is and is to come.   He’s the same as He was with Peter, James and John.   He’s the same as He was with Adam.   He’s the same Jesus to Billy Graham that He is to you, me, and the strangers we pass in the street.  That matters even more when you then remember that Jesus’ mission is to save souls.   He lived, died, and lives again to reach souls who need Him even when they don’t realize it.  Even when they/we do things to reject Him, He still intercedes with the Father to say “remember, Dad, we love him/her.”  He provides for us because of those intercessions, because He wants with all His being for us to be one with Him and He’ll do anything He needs to in order to give us the maximum chances to be in communion with Him.  Every breath we take in rebellion against Christ is also another opportunity to lay down our arms.  Every new morning He grants is a fresh start to make something new with the life He gives us.

Why not make the most of it?   Jesus is.   We need Him to.   Thanks be that He does.

For further reading:   Romans 11:4, Romans 8:34, Hebrews 13:8.

Lord Jesus, thank You for Your consistency, for interceding for me, for always providing for me.