Even as I type this opening line, I am dreadfully aware that today’s words will not be popular. I do not harbor any secret ambitions about getting 100 shares on Facebook with this post. I’m about to go against what all the expert bloggers teach us to do, and say things that simply aren’t popular.
I will console myself with the fact that my Savior was often highly unpopular, causing mass crowds to walk away, and others to try to stone Him. In the end, they crucified Him, not for anything He had done, but for what He said.
I’m reminded of a story I once heard about the fiery Evangelist Billy Sunday. He was so infamous for offending people with the truths of God’s Word that a friend tried to help, “Billy, you are rubbing the cat the wrong way.” Sunday simply replied, “If the cat would turn around, I would be rubbing him the right way.”
It seems that with each day that goes by, we are bombarded by professional and amateur Christian media telling us about the material wealth and success that is coming our way if we only believe (and possibly send $77.77). I frequently watch as people declare and proclaim this or that for everyone who reads the “Christian” versions of chain-letters or horoscopes.
The sad reality is that many (perhaps most) people who read these posts will NOT be promoted, will NOT make a bunch of money, will NOT see all their dreams come true. Some will lose their jobs, some will go bankrupt and – dare I say it – some will die or lose a loved one. If these are the “words” that we are putting our hopes in, then let me be honest enough to say it, they are not living up to the hype.
Folks outside the Faith look at the silliness that has become the modern church and see the hypocrisy and contradictions. They see a group of people who espouse a world-based faith that does not live up to its claims. They witness Christians who claim to be victorious who are in fact living in sin and utter defeat.
While the Bible is clear that God cares for our every need, it makes no promises that everyone will be a millionaire. There is no Biblical Gospel of Materialism. In fact, Jesus taught that our minds were not to be focused on the temporal.
25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? … 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” – Matthew 6:25-33
The Apostle Paul also spoke of the proper place for material concerns and the love of money:
6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. – 1 Timothy 6:6-10 NKJV
Sometimes while we in the church are so focused on financial blessings and success, the heart of the Gospel is neglected. Our focus on temporal success can become an impediment to the needed change in our own life and in the lives of others.
- To gain life you must lose life – Matthew 16:25; Mark 8:35, Luke 17:33
- If you want to be first you must be last and the servant of all – Mark 9:35
- If you wish to be great, you must be a servant and if you want to be first you must be everyone’s slave – Matthew 20:26-27
The next time you get ready to “like” or “share” the post that says God is going to promote everyone, stop, pray and consider the words of John the Baptist:
“He must increase and I must decrease” – John 3:30
God truly wants to promote you in His Kingdom, just keep in mind that the process often leads to your demotion (or humbling) here on earth. And surprisingly, that is a great place to be, because it means you no longer have to worry about the mundane things of this world. You have the heart and attention of Almighty God.