All My Possessions for a Moment Of TimeNovember 5, 2008
Luke 12:15 “And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a mans life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”
Philippians 3:7-8 “But those things which were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,”
This post may sound to many as being either judgmental or legalistic, but it’s neither. We come into contact with another for the very first time. Prior to this encounter, they were to us, simply another player in the ocean of anonymity; their past, their passions, and their dreams a mystery. A line of acknowledgment is uttered such as “Good Morning,” or “can I help you?” If time permits, a conversation develops and, for a moment, we are granted access into the life of another eternal one. As time progresses, an increasingly detailed picture emerges about the person who was a complete stranger a few moments ago. (Even if they should put on a facade, the heart always finds a way to make its content manifest.) A history, a lifestyle, a world outlook, their vision for the future begins to emerge. It will become increasingly obvious; what they hold in high esteem. Do they consider spiritual matters or are they consumed by the temporal. As we listen in, these factors will guide their words. As we listen to the Holy Spirit, he will guide our words.
A person who is not born of the Spirit will probably speak of carnal things. This is what they know and in such situations we must strive to direct the conversation toward Christ. In other words, a lively discussion concerning the political landscape may seem invigorating, but if it never goes beyond that, we will part company and if the person is without Christ, they will be no closer to truth than when the conversation began. (Well, that was somewhat of a sidetrack, but it’s a very important one so it shall remain.) We cannot expect an unsaved person to understand spiritual truths, or even show an interest if the Holy Spirit hasn’t brought them to a place where this is possible. We should, however expect that when we encounter one who professes Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord that their hearts will be on eternal matters. Yet tragically, many who profess to know him are so consumed with the temporal that one cannot help but be concerned.
These not isolated incidents. Our land is carpeted with fleshy assemblies who preach a prosperity gospel and sincerely view physical gain as godliness. Some seem to almost focus exclusively on what they can get, how they have to pray for it, and where they have to activate “seed faith” to get it. Other folks, at the other extreme, attend church religiously; almost as to convince themselves that they fulfilled their obligation to God, but are never truly converted. A red flag always rises when asking somone about Jesus or handing them a tract and their response is “Oh I attend a (insert denomination) church over on such and such street.” The songs are great, the praises of God are on their lips whenever they are gathered with the likeminded, but in casual conversation, they are consumed by the things of this world. I know professing christians who are really nice people and will talk your ear off about a host of issues; politics, sports, or even the weather. (“Wow: some weather we’ve been having.” “Uh yeah… I saw it”) But to strike up a conversation about the Lord Jesus or the age to come causes unease as they are suddenly thrust into a conversation that they weren’t prepared for.
This following verse has appeared on this blog countless times, but here it is again because it really frames this issue for us:
II Corinthians 4:18 “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
Everything in this world; the collections, the partisan groupings, the athletic franchises, the house at the lake, the lake, the land around the lake, and everything that relies on atomic structures for sustainment will one day be no longer. I used to worry about losing the house when I was younger. Well, we ARE going to lose it sometime; even if we pay off the mortgage and somehow reach retirement years. (I seriously don’t believe that amount of time remains, but I see through a glass darkly) Fads come and go, kingdoms rise and fall. Fortunes are acquired and then scattered to the wind by circumstances. But the things “not seen” remain forever. The souls that we encounter daily are forever. The continuing city that we seek is forever. Jesus Christ; our High Priest who paid for our sins with his own blood, is forever. (Suddenly the football game just doesn’t seem like that big of a deal.)
Before passing away in 1603, Queen Elizabeth uttered her final words: “All my possessions for a moment of time.” She had reigned over England, but as death was knocking on her door, absolutely nothing from the temporal world had any relevance. We gnat strain over all of the dramas that the world holds in high esteem, but when it comes to the real issues, many of us are hardened. When my dad was in the nursing home, I visited regularly and was astonished at the scene. People from an array of backgrounds; some having accumulated incredible wealth while others enjoyed the chief seats of power. Others were kown by everyone within a fifty mile radius. Some were always quick with a joke. Some were always mad about something. Yet here, as their final days were unfolding, none of these traits had any bearing.
Isaiah 38:12 “Mine age is departed, (WOW) and is removed from me as a shepherd’s tent: I have cut off like a weaver my life: he will cut me off with pining sickness: from day even to night wilt thou make an end of me.”
Well, I must run to Kalamazoo. I look at the age coming to it’s end and daily think “wow-this ought to awaken the saints who are overcharged by this temporal world.” Yet each day seems to bring more of the same indifference that has become commonplace in the western church. I pray that we all would be awakened to the seriousness of the hour. I apolagize for any grammerical errors; I’ll clean it up when time permits. Until next time, I wish to all a blessed day in Jesus.