Summary: How A Person Feels About And Handles Wealth Is A Test.
OPEN: Have any of you seen the play or movie "Fiddler on the Roof" about Tevye, a Jewish man who was married and had 5 daughters. He worked in a small town as a milkman, and often dreamed about what it would be like if he were rich. And he sings a song, "If I were a rich man," in which he sings, or laments about what wealth would buy him. It would buy him a bigger house with it's luxuries and he wouldn't have to work so hard. He could spend more time in the synagogue praying and studying Torah if he didn't have to work so many hours. In fact I want us to look at a clip that shows Tevye singing a song I imagine we've all sung at one time or another.
How many of you have had days when it seemed as if the horse took the day off? We've all had that, haven't we? I'd imagine everyone of us have had days when we've dreamed Tevye's dream. "If I only were rich, If I only had more money... If only I didn't have to work..." If only... We dream that we would be so much happier if only we had more wealth. The problem with that of course is that when you get more - you still want more.
- Most people I know live with an abiding dissatisfaction with the amount of wealth they possess. Isn't that true? How many people do you know that say, "Yeah, I have all the money I need -- I don't need one dollar more." Do you know anybody that says that? We've all dreamed Tevye's dream, but in most cases, if you ask people want they really want they will say, "Just a little bit more." And when we get "just a little bit more" do you know what we want then? "Just a little bit more, please" Enough is never enough. This is a hard place to live. Life on earth is difficult. No matter how hard you work - a person who never really has enough. No matter how hard you work, "Man there has got to be to life to than this." Not just the area of finances -- but life over all.
This is a very important truth --
Our Life on Earth Will Constantly Be Filled With a Sense of Discomfort and Dissatisfaction.
God does not want you to be dissatisfied with life on earth as we have it. We are not to live for the pleasures we can enjoy in "the now" We live for the rewards of eternity. 2 Cor. 5:1-5 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
Does that sound like a person who is satisfied with what he is experiencing on the earth? He says, "While I'm on earth what I'm experiencing is driving me crazy. There is this constant groaning and there is this sense that something is missing. If as you were sitting here you suddenly discovered you were naked -- that would be pretty uncomfortable, right? Paul says, that's exactly what life on earth feels like. It feels like something is missing. I want to be clothed with my heavenly dwelling -- I want to be home. This is home to me -- this is something I just have to go through before I get to go home. I groan through this -- I'm burdened through this. And God designed a Christian's life to be that way. God doesn't want us to be satisfied with earth stuff. He wants us to find our satisfaction in Jesus Christ. Because He's eternal -- not the stuff on earth. Apart from him and his reign in your life -- there will be an abiding dissatisfaction in your life. There will be a sense of dis-ease -- that eventually turns itself into hopelessness. Now God doesn't want us to live with hopelessness. In fact, through Christ, He fills our heart with hope. But our hope - satisfaction - is not based on what this life offers, but rather on what we find in Christ.
What I'm saying is there is something wrong if you are satisfied on this planet. That's what Scripture teaches doesn't it? God wants us to live with a longing to move on -- we're not supposed to be satisfied with life on this planet. There should be a deep awareness that, "This isn't it. There is something missing." Don't you feel like that from time to time?