Key Word:- GIVE
Title:- Getters, Grabbers and Giving Kings
Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart.
The January sales in my home country of England often produces a great rush of activity and spending as children and teenagers, their Christmas cash hot and heavy in their itchy little hands, exchange it for ‘stuff’ in all it’s promised packaging of pleasure. Mom is also ‘off down the shops’ as well searching for as many bargains as she can find and dad is down the ‘Do it Yourself’ temple to buy another tool he’ll hardly get the time to use and then begin another project that his wife will nag him about for the next six months. Ah…..sales time! You can feel the bargain goose bumps, dry mouth and sore feet just thinking about it.
My goodness though! The ‘after Christmas sales’ pale into insignificance along side the ‘after Thanksgiving sale.’ Black Friday, they call it in America and it’s like a herd of wilder beast high on ‘Crystal Meth’ lining and looting the highly overstocked and under priced isles of slashed and bleeding merchandise. Even Christian Radio joins the fray insisting on playing Christmas Carols from now until the New Year, to get you in the gift hunting mood. God help us.
Yet we continue to acquire all of this ‘stuff’ despite it taking so much time to manage. You’ve got to work at a job you might not like, to pay for stuff you might not really need, to get some peace that you can’t really enjoy, because you’re worried about how you’re going to pay for the stuff you might not really be able to afford. Plus, when you get it home, you find it doesn’t work and needs a warranty exchange, and trying to get one of those done smoothly would turn Ghandi into Genghis Khan at the customer service desk, which is a misnomer anyway, because it’s just another sales outlet where they’re going to tell you that it’s not broken at all actually, but is incompatible with the equipment you’ve presently got but thank God!....for a little extra money you can purchase an upgrade, oh and while your at it, it’s highly recommended that you pay for an extended warranty on everything, including the batteries and the plastic bag your going to carry your treasure home in! Then whilst the fresh air and sunshine beckon us outside, we finally sit, surrounded by our stuff, staring into glass or plasma, or liquid crystal displays, with blaring speakers selling us more of the same stuff we’ve already got and don’t really enjoy. It is utter madness!
There is no question that we are part of a system that relies heavily on us continuing to consume. It is geared to perpetually entice us to do so and so enslave us to debt and the demands of plastic in all its various forms. This robs us. This kills us. This destroys us. Do you think this satanic system might just be distracting the church from it’s mission and it’s real family values? Real family values has little to do with stuff! Many of us have had a ‘hard time’ of it when it comes to our childhood and we certainly do not want our children to go through similar experiences of need, so we ensure they never have the need we had. However, we are blind to the fact that what we needed then was but one ten thousandth of what the system and our children’s influential and much influenced peers tell them they actually need today! So parents beware! For our careful and seemingly loving intentions often simply help us to feed the monster.
Those of us in the West are also exposed to an interesting twist of Gospel goodness from the health, wealth and glory boys, in the form of the ‘inquisition of acquisition’. After all, plenty is obviously a sign of the Masters pleasure! So get more, and make sure it’s bigger, shinier and sharper than the world has ever seen, then they and our neighboring churches shall also truly know that God is with us. Yeah right!
Despite perceiving a kind of hot and happy, spiritual 'keeping up with the Joneses' going on around me, when the gospel has to deck itself out with bulbous “bling bling” to justify its efficacy, it actually leaves me cold and makes me feel ever so guilty while I am sitting here in my own lack and in my own need. I wonder if this kind of 'Bling Bling Gospel' now gone the way of Balaam, this kind of “faithing it,” is in fact just faking it really and that this pursuance of the gospel of wealth, which is what it really is, might just in the end rob us, kills us, destroys us and distract us from our true mission?
The problem is that the big attraction of possessions is that they do carry with them an attractive aura of power and protection, after all if I have much, then when want arrives, I shall possess enough to carry me and my loved ones through! If I have much, then when persecution comes, when the stock market plunderers thunder across Wall Street once more, then me and mine shall be safe. Our nest egg shall hatch and the roof shall remain over our head. Our health insurance shall also stand tall, against any onslaught of sickness or desperate need of a psychiatrist? Do I need a psychiatrist? Maybe I do, because though this kind of Gospel thinking is all very enticing and seems so very wise. I wonder, yes I really do wonder, if this kind of Gospel is NO GOSPEL AT ALL but rather is in fact just a great big fat lie, to get us to get more of that all encumbering stuff?
Be honest with yourself today and ask yourself these three questions.
1) Despite all my stuff, am I happy?
2) What is my source of provision and protection and so what do I truly value?
3) Does God value what I value?
The choice is ours to be ‘wise kings seeking Jesus’, or be ‘greedy grabbing gentiles’. What are you doing today? Still trying to grab peace, provision and protection by the gentiles? Careful now, you might just lose your own right hand of peace provision and protection.
Listen:- 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek.
Pray: - Father, help me not to worry but to seek Your righteousness and Your kingdom. Show me how live so much more with so much less in Jesus name I pray. Amen.