July 10, 2023

“Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away.”

-James 1:9,10

I am going to step on my own toes for a minute, and I know I’m not the only one who can relate to this scenario.  No matter how much we pay for our motorcycles, we all take great pride in them.  We keep them clean, we keep them maintained, and we love them as if they were our own children.  If you don’t ride, you may think I’m nuts, but just go talk to a biker, you will quickly find out that this is a very true and valid claim.  A friend of mine, just over a year ago, bought himself another motorcycle.  He announced it by texting me a question.  “What is better than one Harley?”  Without waiting for a response, I get a picture of his new motorcycle with the caption “Two Harley’s!”  Talk about making a guy envious!  Just yesterday, I was out riding with another friend of mine, his brother was going to meet us but he ran into some problems.  On his way to meet us, he stopped to get gas.  As he was ready to leave the gas station, he pulled in the clutch and he found the clutch lever to be slack under his grip.  There was no tension at all.  He texted us to let us know that he couldn’t make it, so my friend and I went on to lunch and we were talking about his brother’s trouble with his motorcycle, as we played mechanic, trying to diagnose a problem on a motorcycle that we couldn’t even see.  It was in that conversation that I found out his brother had another motorcycle at home but he couldn’t ride it because of a severe oil leak.  Talk about bad luck!  We both commented about how miserable we would be if we had two motorcycles and couldn’t ride either of them!  

There is nothing, at all, wrong with enjoying and appreciating our motorcycles.  The problem comes when we seem to make idols out of our machines.  How easily do we, in general, place so much emphasis on our possessions?  On this “stuff” that we accumulate in our lives?  

John Calvin is quoted as saying that “the human heart is an idol factory.”  That one stung when I read it.  I am ashamed of how many times I have let something take the place of God in my heart.  We all are guilty of this, there are things in our lives that we sometimes allow to take the place of God in our lives, a new idol for the focus of our worship.

When money and possessions determine our happiness, what room do we have to serve anything else in our lives? 

Jeff Bezos has a net worth of $153 billion but will that matter on the day that he dies?   Personal wealth will mean nothing to God when we die, the condition of our heart and our saving faith is all that will matter.  Salvation will trump our money and possessions every time.

Jeff Bezos needs Jesus just like everybody else.  God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.  AND, God wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.   

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

-John 14:6

There is absolutely nothing wrong with having nice things, nothing wrong with having money.  It’s what we do with those gifts that impact our spiritual condition.  Those who are lacking in material possessions have an easier time of realizing their true wealth lies in their hope in Christ.  Those who are blessed with much have a hard time remembering that their hope is in Christ.

There are painful trials and then there are pleasant trials.  We often think of painful ones but seldom think of the ones that hide themselves in comfort.  We seek God in pain but often forget Him when things are going well.  The wealthy may well be more tempted to forget God than do those who have little.

The poor Christian may find their social condition a very painful trial.  However, they must not become depressed by this.  Instead they should think upon their high condition as a child of God.  On the other hand a wealthy Christian should see his wealth as a trial as well.  He should see the vanity of his temporal condition of prosperity.  All of his temporal possessions should only remind him that his true wealth lies in Christ. 

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