By this time our regular readers are growing well acquainted with the work of Rebeka Fry on her 'Redefining Femininity' blog and specifically her series on materialism. Today, we've got another excellent post from Rebeka as she continues her series on materialism, this one dealing with the issue of security and possessions.
It Makes Me Secure
In the Western world, poverty seems to be unimaginable. We have every resource at our finger tips, whether it be technology, education, health care, entertainment; whatever we call for, the butler delivers. In the parable Jesus told about the rich fool, the times were plentiful, abounding with riches and prosperity. This time of plenty was from the hand of God. But the Lord doesn’t prosper us just to give us a life of ease; His blessing can become a test – a test as to where our trust lies. Tragically, the rich fool failed the test epically.
"So he said, 'I will do this:
I will pull down my barns and build greater,
and there I will store all my crops and my goods."
~ Luke 12:18 ~
Now, some may look at that and say, "He was being resourceful! What's so wrong with that?" The problem with his statement follows in the next verse.
"'And I will say to my soul,
"Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years;
take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry."'"
~ Luke 12:19 ~
This statement reveals a problem. It reveals where his trust was found - in himself and his material gain.
Too often, I've heard stories of Christians from other countries who have come over the United States (or another Westernized nation), whether it be for business, medical school, or for long-term immigration. While they were in their home country, they stood firm in their faith, disregarding distractions and wealth. Arriving in the West, however, they found a new world that was enchanted by Hollywood, cutting-edge technology and plentiful entertainment, accessible education, and many other delights. And while these things aren't inherently evil in and of themselves, for a person from a third-world nation, it became a potential hazard for their faith in Christ. One Romanian pastor said,
"In my experience, 95 percent of the believers
who face the test of persecution pass it,
while 95 percent of the believers
who face the test of prosperity fail it."
Isn't that so true? As I read through Foxe's Book of Martyrs or a "Voice of the Martyrs" magazine, the stories always amaze me. Those Christians stood and are standing firm in their commitment towards Christ, their legacy of unbending faith resounding on to this generation and those that are to come. But the Westernized church has become distracted by the world, letting its pleasure dazzle the eye and trifle the heart. Our confidence is very weak or maybe not even in the glories of the cross. It has been sabotaged by the outward veneer of covetousness.
While we may put God to the test and say, "Go ahead - bless me!", if the rich man failed the prosperity test, what hope do we have to do better? We have no hope in ourselves. But, thanks to the cross, we can stand with confidence in the fact that where we failed, Christ was obedient. Where we stumble, He completed the race, setting a new record. When we are tested with the riches of this world - the new iPhone 4, a new car, the new house - we have a refuge we can find shelter in. We can go to the Savior who secured a place for us with God through the cross.
Some scriptures that came to mind as I read this post are as follow:
Luke 1613 - "No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other You cannot serve God and wealth."
Matthew 6:19-21 - "19 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Hebrews 13:5 - Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU"
Many thanks to Rebeka for sharing!