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Got My Life, Got My Jesus! (09.07.05--The Temporal Things!--Matthew 5:3)

In order to have all things, you must forsake all things. Tell that to those struggling with forsakeness in flood-ravaged New Orleans or storm-crushed Gulfport this morning!

My guess is that few if any would understand the tremendous promise of such a statement. To be stripped bare, forsaken and rejected, is a blessing? How can such deprivation be of any good, let alone a blessing? Perhaps that would be difficult under the circumstances. Nevertheless, as I was watching the evening news the other day, I did find one old lady who knew it well. The camera caught her wading chest deep in the murky waters of a flooded New Orleans street. The reporter yelled out to her, “How are you? Where are you going?” She simply replied, “I got my life and I got my Jesus. The rest don’t matter.” The moment was probably lost on the reporter and many of those listening in. Nevertheless, to the Christian, it ought to have rung true and clear. If we have life and faith, everything else is a dividend, a blessing we can hope for but ought never count on.

During World War II, “Eddie” Rickenbacker, American’s most famous army aviator in W.W. I, was appointed special consultant to Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson. It was Rickenbacker’s task to inspect the various theaters of war.

During one tour in 1942, Rickenbacker and seven companions made a forced landing in the Pacific Ocean. There they experienced 24 terrifying days drifting in a lifeboat until they were rescued by a navy plane. After his recovery from the ordeal, Rickenbacker said: “Let the moment come when nothing is left but life, and you will find that you do not hesitate over the fate of material possessions.” Rickenbacker understood that at such a time one is concerned about the fate of something more precious than material goods -- life itself. (Morning Glory, January 18, 1994.)

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). Does this mean that we can’t have any possessions? Does it mean that only those who abandon everything except “their Jesus” really have any faith? The Bible says “spirit” not possessions. There is work to do in this land and those who have nothing will not necessarily be the architects of it. God is looking for workers in His vineyard; workers who are able and willing to do the work, not because of what they have in their wallets, but what they possess in their hearts. If we know the value of our lives in Jesus Christ, we have the foundation of faith that God is looking to build upon with His earthly blessings. If we “got” our lives and “got” our Jesus,” that’s all that He needs to begin His marvelous work in us. “The rest don’t really matter.”

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