Treasures, Riches, and Gain

Well, it took nearly half the summer, but the patio doors have been fixed, the cats have been evicted, the porch has been scrubbed down, and the breezeway is once again a place of quiet rest, highly sought after for morning quiet times.  It was worth the wait.

6 But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. 7 For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. 8 If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. 9 But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 11 But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith ; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses…17 Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. 18 Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed. (1 Tim 6, NAS)

Contentment— defined in v. 8 as having food and covering, the necessities of life.  The necessities of life are freely provided to me.  I am not in need.  Am I content?  What is the condition of my heart? 

Contentment is contrasted with the love of money  (v. 10) and those who want to get rich (v.9)  These are defined or described as leading to temptation, a snare, harmful desires, (plunging) men into ruin and destruction, a root of all sorts of evil.  Small wonder we are commanded to flee from these things! (v. 11)  Flee, yes, because they are dangerous; but flee (verb, purposeful action) because inertia and passivity will inevitably draw me there. 

Go back to the beginning.  The love of money is being contrasted with contentment with the basic necessities of life.  Easy to say, not as easy to live and mean.  Fleeing these things leaves a vacuum of sorts, but God is ready to fill it with something better…pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.  Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called (v. 11-12)  Flee.  Pursue.  Fight.  Take Hold.  Words of action.  I am not a runner, but being the mother of a two year old boy, I know something about fleeing, pursuing, taking hold.  Sigh.  This is not going to be easy.  I don’t read anything in the text that indicates that it will be.  Sigh. 

Back to the beginning.  But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.  Great gain.  I always set my sights too low, when God always has something better in store.  Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to …fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.  Those who are rich…my default is not to think of myself as rich.  We enjoy a simple, modest life.  But that is selfish of me.  That is focused inward instead of outward. 

Changing my view to one that includes all of God’s children, in this country and around the world, I see how wealthy I am..I have plenty to eat, the freezers are full, if anything I fight being overweight.  I have never had to worry about having clean water to drink.  If anything our family grumbles at drinking water at mealtime instead of lemonade or pop.  I have plenty of clothes to wear, indeed my husband has put his foot down and insisted that I get rid of clothes we don’t need before we move.  Our house keeps us warm in the winter and provides shelter from the summer heat.  Considering these facts, it’s embarrassing not to think of myself as rich. 

God has further instructions for me…do good..be rich in good works..be generous and ready to share. (v.18)  By doing so, I will be storing up for (my)self the treasure of a good foundation for the future. (v.19)  What future?  My future in eternity.  God’s economy.  Treasures in heaven.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves donot break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)

So there you have it.  It all comes back to being a heart issue.  I knew this wasn’t going to be easy, but I’m waiting Lord.  I know You are at work, ready to do Your work and I want to be faithful.  Will You help me, please?

Celebrating Our Freedom

Among other ways to observe the Independence Day holiday, July 4th is traditionally the time of year when the wild black raspberries down by our creek are ready to pick; so this morning John and I packed everyone into the truck and embarked upon our berry picking adventure.

These are John’s observations while we were picking black raspberries this morning:

17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”  (Genesis 3:17-19)

“Picking black raspberries is an example of God’s provision for us.  The food is free for our taking and we will enjoy the raspberry jam this winter, but it is also an excellent example of the curse because in order to pick the raspberries, we have to fight the heat and the thorns.  When I draw my hand back from the berry bush, it is scratched and covered in blood and reminds me that blood is required to atone for sin and the curse.” (And if I may add, it reminds me of another bloodied hand which DID atone for sin and the curse.)

I guess it is appropriate that as we celebrate our country’s freedom, we also celebrate the One who has truly set us free.