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Summary: Salt without prescribing how much is what king Cyrus offered the children of Israel. Knowing the salt or divine grace that God has provided us is the key to driving out coveting within our lives and is also the key to feeling unspeakable joy!

Salt Without Prescribing How Much

Ezra 7:22

Online Sermon: http://www.mckeesfamily.com/?page_id=3567

Knowing that there is limited amount resources tends to motivate us to seek to obtain and protect not only what we need but also what we think will be the greatest source of joy in our lives. Once we receive the necessities of life such as food, water and shelter; these items will not be as motivating for us to obtain but instead to hoard and covet. Since the fear of loosing the necessities of life never really leaves our minds, we tend to hoard what we can as an insurance policy in case times might become difficult! Fear is not the only factor driving us to hoard stuff for we often covet those things that we believe can bring us joy. The world is constantly advertising the stuff that is “good” for us, as if they had a license on what can bring human joy. We believe these advertisements and often do not stop and ask whether these things, activities, friendships or moments of fame are beneficial to us! Too often our focus is to keep up with the “Jones” in the hope of getting more worldly things that might in turn alleviate the loneliness and pain that comes from living in a fallen world.

There must be a better way to live our lives for no matter how much one obtains one never seems to receive the joy promised by this world but instead are left with the “gut wrenching” fear that one day we one might lose everything! The more we acquire the more we covet and the more fearful we are of loosing what we have. How ironic it is that those who taunt their wisdom like a badge of honor that they have gotten more than their fair share of this world’s limited resources are the very ones whose sorrow, not joy, is increased the most! What then are we as human beings missing? To feel unspeakable joy what must we do? To answer this question, I am going to first review the motivation to obtain scarce resources and in doing so prove that this kind of human wisdom does not lead to joy but instead further perpetuates fear, coveting, and increased sorrow. I am then going to review the historic background of Ezra 7:22. From this passage I am going outline my passionate belief that true joy comes not from coveting what we do not have but by celebrating what we have been given … an immeasurable supply of salt, a fountain of inexhaustible grace!

MOTIVATION TO OBTAIN LIMITED RESOURCES AND LUXURIES

While what motivates our behaviour day in and day out is incredibly complex, it can be simplified by looking at both our deficiency and growth needs. Deficiency needs arise due to deprivation and the longer they are unmet the more they will motivate a person to have them fulfilled. According to Abraham Maslow these are the basic physiological needs such as food, water, warmth rest, safety, along with the psychological needs of belongingness through intimate relationships, friends and esteem needs of prestige and sense of accomplishment. It is only when these needs are met that a person will be motivated by the need of self-fulfillment, to achieve one’s full potential in life. Since roughly 9% of Canadians and 15% of Americans are below the poverty line does this mean that most of their citizens are no longer motivated to obtain the necessities of food, water and shelter?

While in Maslow’s day, more than a half century ago, it would have been correct to say that once a person had enough food, water and shelter to physically survive these basic needs no longer motived them; in today’s culture physical survival is never far from our minds! Living in a fallen, electronically mediated world means that day in and day out we are constantly being bombarded by images of tragedies that have left many destitute and without their basic needs being met. For the 47% of Canadian workers who believe they would not be able to meet their current financial obligations for a single month if they were laid off work, most of us are unlikely to ever forget the importance of the necessities of life. Every time we hear of a story about debilitating diseases, natural disasters or accidents reducing people from comfortable livings to rags it reaffirms our fear that we one day might suffer the same fate.

To protect ourselves from the unknown future that is ever before us we hoard and buy insurance. Who of us does not have a house and garage full of stuff that we have kept just in case a “rainy” day comes, and we are in need? Not only do we hoard for an unknown future but we also buy life, wedding, travel, health, burial, mortgage, home, auto, liability and yes even pet insurance. For just about any tragedy there is an insurance out there that promises to mitigate some of the costs of bad things happening to us! For example, for approximately $650 US dollars a year a 25 year old person can buy a 30-year term life term insurance policy that will pay out one million dollars in the event of death! Even though the average Canadian family pays upwards to $11,0000 a year in health care insurance, there is comfort in knowing that this mitigates the costs of some diseases one might get such as pancreatic cancer in which a single drug costs about $8,000 a month! For about $840 a year Canadians purchase home insurance to mitigate the costs of the destruction of their homes and for approximately $1,000 per year one can purchase automobile insurance to help cover the costs involved in having an accident. While most Canadians live above the poverty line, they are still motivated to financial protect themselves from any tragedy that would threaten their ability to meet their basic needs.

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