Summary: Whether you¡¦ve got a mountain of unpaid bills or a mountain of surplus money, take a deep breath and exhale¡Ktrust God with either!
Each of us has had an unpaid bill or two (or ten) lying on the desk or kitchen table. Those bills call to us; they harass us and wake us up in the middle of the night (if they let us get to sleep at all). Unpaid bills are a tremendous creator of stress and anxiety; they cause worry that can threaten your health.
An IRS auditor received an unsigned letter with several twenty-dollar bills attached. The letter read: I cheated on my taxes last year. My conscience bothers me so much I can’t eat or sleep. If this payment doesn’t do the trick I’ll send the rest of what I owe.
Money-stress affects family life. When our youngest child was just four or five she overheard Elizabeth and me talking about several hundred dollars we didn’t have to pay a past-due bill. In the middle of our “adult” discussion I felt a pull on my shirt sleeve. There was Carrie, pudgy little hand held high with seven pennies in it; “Here, Daddy, you can use my money.”
Jesus once told about little children, and how it is their kind of trust that opens the doors of the Kingdom of God. That afternoon it became clearer to me what Jesus meant. Our little daughter, who had never been to a seminary class, or attended a Joyce Myer conference or a “Financial Peace” seminar, understood instinctively that peace of mind was worth much more than the money she had stowed away.
Now, that is the main thrust of our text. Through Isaiah the prophet God asks a very probing/searching series of questions. They condense-down to one compound, but simple proposition for us today:
Whether you’ve got a mountain of unpaid bills or a mountain of surplus money, take a deep breath and exhale…trust God with either!
Let’s unpack that a bit and see what Isaiah said about the man who trusts in God more than money!
I. PEOPLE WITH MISPLACED TRUST
Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Isaiah 55:1-2a
Isaiah asks the rhetorical question – why in the world would you waste what little resources you have on stuff that is useless to you in the long run? He says it won’t satisfy. The word literally means “insufficient” – you won’t have enough to last!
People work hard for things. In America we have the work ethic. We Americans also ask the key question…how much is enough? The answer: just a little more! You work like a dog so you’ll have enough money to buy that house so you can have a king-size bed, so you can get enough rest to get up early to go work like a dog, so you can have enough money to buy that house so you can have a king-size bed….
Does that sound like a rat race? Of course it does. I heard a preacher telling how when he started out in life he worked for a corporation that was housed in a gigantic skyscraper in a city. The company officers all had a key to the executive washroom on the top floor. The junior execs all worked like a dog, 70, 80 and 100 hours a week to get to be top executives. When promoted they would get the coveted washroom key; it meant they had arrived. Most of them had ulcers and two or three divorces by the time they had reached the top. That’s quite a price to pay for a key to the bathroom!
Working for, holding onto, planning over money or things or prestige, continually thinking about those things is placing…or rather mis-placing your trust. So, where does your trust belong?
II. PEOPLE WITH WELL-PLACED TRUST
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live. I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. See, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. See, you shall call nations that you do not know, and nations that do not know you shall run to you, because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you. Isaiah 55:2b-5
Isaiah makes the point here that the only thing worth chasing-after isn’t money or a shot at American Idol, but a strong relationship with God. A couple of words point this out. God says he makes an “everlasting” covenant. That word has a word picture of the vanishing point of the horizon. God’s promises are out of sight!