Summary: One of the powerful myths on which our society is based is that “we are what we own.” And it’s a cruel and oppressive myth! Deep down, we know it’s a lie, yet what a powerful influence it has all the same! Jesus has a word that counters this powerfu
“Treasure that can’t be Stolen”
By: Ken Sauer, Pastor of East Ridge United Methodist Church, Chattanooga, TN
I was speaking with someone a week or so ago.
They were telling me about a lawyer, who left a high paying firm in order to provide legal help for the poor, many of whom are unable to pay him.
Other times, I have heard about doctors who, after all the years of schooling and training, have become missionaries to places where there is little if any medical help.
I would imagine most of us have heard stories such as these.
What is your reaction to them?
I know what I frequently hear and say, “Wow! That’s amazing,” or “What a great way to spend one’s life! How wonderful! What an awesome person.”
What I don’t usually hear or say to myself is, “It’s so wonderful and awesome that I think I’ll do the same thing myself.”
If we hold such high esteem for this kind of “selfless giving”…
…if it causes us to “ooh and awe”…
…if it brings with it just a tinge of envy…
…why is it that so many of us are not doing more of it?
Or think about the persons who give great sums of money or great percentages based on their salary to the church.
We really admire them for this, do we not?
And if it weren’t for the “cheerful givers” we would have no building in which to worship and no money to pay the bills, nothing to send to missionaries around the world, and no cash whatsoever to do ministry right here!
Yet, how many of us tithe?
How many of us give at least 10 % of our income to the church?
This used to be an overwhelming and scary thought to me.
“10% of my income?!!!”
“If I do that, how will I pay my bills?”
“If I do that, how will I afford to spend and buy things for myself and my family?”
But you know what?
Like so many testimonies from others who tithe, I have found it so true that I don’t miss the money one bit!!!
Giving 10% doesn’t stop me from being able to pay my bills.
And I am still able to provide for my family and buy things we need and things we just want.
The only thing that generous giving does do is increase my faith, and bring a me better sense of self-worth!
It also, helps me to manage, better, the money I do have.
Who would have thunk it?
It doesn’t necessarily make sense in the worldly way of looking at things, but it makes a lot of sense in the Kingdom Way!!!
“O you of little faith!...how much more valuable you are than birds!...seek [God’s] kingdom and these things will be given to you as well…provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out…a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted…for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Has anyone ever asked you, “What are you worth?”
What that question typically means is: “How much money do you have? What are your net assets?”
Every year, one of the leading financial magazines publishes a list of the richest people in America.
The “worth” of each of the persons who top the list runs into the billions of dollars.
Yet, is this truly what they are worth—or merely an accounting of what they own?
We get our priorities so mixed up sometimes.
We sometimes say, for example, that people who have declared bankruptcy are “ruined”—as though a shortage of money could ruin a part of God’s good creation!
What do gamblers in the casinos say when they still have some money left?
They say they’re “still alive!”
The tragedy is that many folks actually believe this twisted way of thinking.
Recently I read what a few Wall Street financiers did on the day the stock market crashed in 1929.
They leapt from the windows of their Manhattan skyscrapers!
Was their joy in their family and friends really ruined by their financial problems?
Did food suddenly taste less good, flowers smell less sweet?
Was life really less worth living, because their financial castles had been demolished?
Could it be that those tycoons of 1929 had lost their perspective?
Did they really believe the lie that they were worth what they owned?
I pray we don’t believe that lie as well!
Today, so many of us struggle not only under financial burdens—burdens of unpaid bills and heavy debts, but also burdens of low self-esteem.
But Jesus tells us that we are worth infinitely more than what our checkbook balance indicates!!!
One of the powerful myths on which our society is based is that “we are what we own.”