Yesterday I heard a sermon in church at Ivy Manchester. It was about Faith, Hope and Love (1 Cor 13:13) and to put it in one line, how if you love ‘material items’ you cannot love properly in this world. During the sermon my mind drifted a little bit (sorry to Anthony who was speaking) and I began reading the rest of the passage. It was then that I managed to put some things together about my own life.
The last few days I’ve been feeling a lot of internal pressure about moving abroad. Some things were not coming together and you start to (well I do) start to worry about things. Saturday night I spent speaking to Jude about my doubts and fears, or what worries me about the trip. What you worry about matters to you, it is a viewing point into your very heart. So I was able to see what I am holding on to.
Luke 12 tells the story of a rich fool who holds onto his riches, makes barns for them. He stores them away and then he dies. What a fool….. If you go on to read the rest of the passage it repeats words from Matthew about not worrying. It’s a juxtaposition if you like. Here is a rich man, he stored away, what a fool. OR let go of that worry, trust me and you will be wise. There is a progression in the chapter if you like. It is not enough to say don’t worry or don’t be a fool or even love more, there is a change in belief, faith and heart focus that is needed for that to happen.
verse 33 says, “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted”. Listen to that, purses that will not wear out. Are we willing to trade our own security for God’s security? To do that requires an action, to act in the opposite Spirit and to practically put your trust in God. In this verse that it is exemplified by selling your possessions and giving them to the poor. ie. get rid of the money unlike the rich fool.
For me, I decided to just say to myself, forget the worries, forget the doubts, I’m going come rain or shine. Guess what! This morning, a contact in Zambia emailed me to arrange our visas…….. God opens the way when you trust him. It is only when we lift our eyes to God’s eternal power that we can live a different way. His resources will never run out.
Do Jude and I live in a radical way? To a point yes, but we still have a lot to learn. I (like everyone else) am weak to the subtle call of material security. That’s why i stated our intention to return to Africa before we returned home. I knew how seductive our society can be. I worry about all kinds of daft things, my first response needs to be seek the Lord.
The chapter goes on to talk about our responsibility to God, to use the gifts we have for His service. It talks about good and faithful servants and the like. This again progresses from the last point. We live wisely, put our treasure in God’s service and then we will act like a faithful servant and be ready for what God wants us to do.
I don’t want to be found wanting having been entrusted with much, do you? To follow God, to love is a decision.
Maybe we all need to just get on with it.