Who we know is of greater value than what we do or what we own. Chicago pastor and Resurection Band frontman Glenn Kaiser ponders this insight.
I have become more and more fond of asking questions. Perhaps because
it's one of the key ways Jesus ministered to people at deeper levels,
but it's also a great way to help people to think about their own
specific situation and needs. My dad always told me, "Think". I try.
God help us to think His way, according to His Word!
Here's a powerful quote for starters: "The more affluent a society is, the more pronounced is the sense of ultimate emptiness and alienation on the part of its members."
Billy Graham said that, and how I thoroughly agree with him. So many in Western culture have become captivated with materialism. As soon as Communism fell, all things Western with all the attached problems became THE stuff to get one's hands on. And we are only beginning to see the backlash.
So many have realised that creature comforts don't equal meaningful relationship. As Jesus said, "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)
Question: Could it be possible to gain the world but lose your soul
while living in the midst of a Christian fellowship? A Christian
community? A ministry centre?
Historically there are those who have certainly done so. The old Bible term is "backsliding". When things and personal comfort become more important than relationship to God and others, we are most certainly turning away from the most important realities of life. Is it possible to be involved on a mission field and yet be storing up treasures on earth above and beyond our greatest treasure? Jesus said, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Luke 12:34)
For me, it has come to this: my Lord, my wife and children, my son-in-law, friends in ministry are THE treasure in my life. I say this not out of virtue or pretence of holiness - for I am greatly lacking in these. My brothers and sisters in Christ, the family of God mean more to me than anything I have or have ever possessed.
RELATIONSHIPS are the greatest treasures any of us can have - in this
world and the next!
And so I leave you with a few more questions:
1. Do you pray for God's blessing, grace and guidance for those who follow Jesus alongside you?
2. Out of love and sincere concern, do you ever ask them how they are doing in terms of spiritual growth?
3. Are you the sort of person that they are comfortable coming to in confessing sin, temptation and need? When they need a friend who can point them to Jesus, share truth from God's Word and honest, personal experience to help them, are you that sort of Christian?
4. Do you seek to serve them in humility and do you trust in the grace, commandments and judgment of God beyond your own opinions?
5. Are you the sort of friend, brother or sister in Christ on whom people can depend to point them toward God, his Word, genuine love for Jesus, his Church, his mission?
If you have sorted these issues out, you are on the road to a most fulfilling and blessed Christian life. If you are not at peace with yourself on these points, perhaps you are spending far too much time dreaming about things that will only hold you in (or drag you toward) the very sense of ultimate emptiness and alienation many in my country are now exporting.
As always, the Lord has the last word: "What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ..." (Phil 3:8)
"Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!" (Phil 4:1)
The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.