Wednesday, January 30, 2008

What Do You Treasure?

Jesus spent time helping turn everything upside down and money was certainly one of the major themes that Jesus took and showed a great reversal. Remember how he praised the woman who gave the small coin because it was everything that she had? Remember how he upset the vendors at the Temple because they were disrupting the worship?

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke about treasures and how they are the key to understanding our hearts.

He said that no one can serve two masters. That where our treasure is, this is where our hearts will be found. He also told us not to worry about money, that God takes care of the lillies and the birds. He goes so far as to say that "We cannot serve both God and money."

Where does this leave us in this culture? It takes so much money to live and it is so easy to get caught up by what is perceived as being necessary for life. It's so easy to forget that a good portion of the world goes to bed hungry.

Today I read about Haiti and that food is so scarce that they are eating mud cookies. Somedays that's all they eat; can you imagine?
I think often about the refugees in the Kamkuma Refugee camp for Sudanese. The United Nations has begun to systematically reduce the food availability so that the people leave because they don't have enough to eat. The only problem is that they don't have anywhere to go.
These stories are widespread; but they are only stories to most of us. We haven't ever experienced such hunger, such poverty.

Matthew 13 is a chapter that gives one Kingdom of God example after another. Jesus begins with the Sower parable where seeds either fall into hard soil, rocky soil, thorny soil or the fertile soil that absorbs and grows the seeds. I find it so interesting that Jesus states "The one who received the seed that fell among the thornes is the one who hears the word but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.

Doesn't this describe our lives? We worry about paying our bills and we struggle because we don't have the latest (you name it...). We worry about not having enough.

Jesus helps us to reconsider what enough can be. He also shows us the answer at the end of Matthew 6 where he tells us "To seek first God's Kingdom and his righteousness (right living) and all these things will be given to us as well."

Once again, as we let go of the worry, the striving, the fear of not having enough, and begin to put Jesus' way first, we will find that we have enough and that the only thing missing is worry.

As we discover all that God wants to do in Missio Lux, I dream about living as a people counter culturally to our culture. We aren't set apart because we are better than anyone or judging the people around us, we are set apart because we live in financial freedom and with that stress lifted off of us, people will take notice and ask us "What makes you different?" It's at that point that we can share the very good news of Jesus' reverse priorities that lead us to freedom.

What's your response to these thoughts?
Where do you struggle with worry?
Where do you grieve over the poor and forsaken?
What do you want to see Missio Lux do to help bring forth true financial freedom in our midst?

5 comments:

4gordon said...

I have the same feeling for the poor as I do anyone who is hurting or lost. I have not had that much experience with it as I have been raising my children and in recovery myself. I do see what can happen if our spirit gets beaten down. I believe that can happen in many ways. I refuse to get "angry" or "blame" governments or groups of people for ruining the lives of so many. Thats what those manipulators want us to do. I think we should keep coming back. Keep trying to lift the spirits of the people, don't get discouraged, pray for wisdom. We all know that the Lord could get rid of all poverty, sickness and starvation if He wanted too. So we are back to being the hands and feet of the Lord on earth. He taught people right from wrong and He he gave them love and value. That fighting spirit that says "I am worth it, I am a child of God". I absolutely praise all the people that can travel to distant countries with their families and help. This has not been my calling, but I truly believe in it. Thanks to all that receive this calling and follow it. Blessings, Betsy

Tamara Buchan said...

HI Betsy,
I think about Jesus' first comment on the Sermon on the Mount "Blessed are the poor in spirit," and in Isaiah 61 where it says that Jesus came to "preach good news to the poor." You are so right to make the connection that the hurting and lost are also poor; because we haven't experienced the banquet table of Jesus.

andrea said...

As my 10 year high school reunion nears, I often think I will not go because I am sure everyone else has achieved so much more than me. They are probably all married, have kids, live in what I call a “mini mansion” and drive nice cars with their dog hanging out the back window. I do know this is the case for some of my classmates. But then I take a step back and say “who cares!” I have to ask myself what is most important in life? What is my mission, why am I here? To learn the ways of Jesus and serve Gods will.

As Proverbs 18:11 states “The wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it an unscalable wall.” I think many people in the world think that money will provide safety. But they are mistaken. Money can loose power in too many ways. The government may not back it, it can be stolen, or inflation will rob it of its value. God on the other hand never looses power. He is always there, our rock. He is our safety.

Additionally, Luke 12:33 says “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourself that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.” God has instructed us to use money wisely to see how much we can use for His purpose, not how much we can accumulate for ourselves. If we use our money for God’s will we are storing up the lasting treasures in heaven. These treasures can not be taken, and can not loose power. Sometimes it is scary to let go of what you have. But is this not why we live by faith?

Living in a 3rd world country, even for just a month, taught me so much. It taught me to treasure the things I do have, share with others the things I don’t need, and to ALWAYS remember that no matter what, I am blessed beyond my needs.

Tamara Buchan said...

HI Andrea,
Thank you for your thoughtful response on our treasures. Go to that reunion and be salt to those who are quiety desperate because they are starting to realize that money doesn't satisfy the deepest longings of our heart.

Cathy said...

Andrea,

I encourage you to go to your reunion. When we walk in this human world in a way that is different others notice. Some may judge through cloudy eyes that we are not "successful" by their worldly standard. Their eyes are closed and they can not hear. However, many will notice our living fully with joy. This will cause them to pause and reconsider their own scales of what is 'success' and for those fortunate they will find the 'permission' to also walk differently. In that pause God is at work calling to them.

So like a drop of water ripples outward on a still pond be that drop at your High School reunion.
You may be surprised by all the other drops shivering at the verge that also begin to fall.

Cathy