Reaching Into the Treasure Box
Categories: Pastor Dave's eNote
“I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”
2 Corinthians 8:8-9
In week one of the Living Generously series we learned the importance of giving our first and best. God commanded His people that when they brought Him a sacrifice, they were to bring their best lamb and not some sick “stinky” lamb. Most of us know if we keep giving our hearts away to the things of the world, sooner or later the things of this world will push our hearts away from God. We most often associate generosity with giving away some money. Our money isn’t what God is after. He is after our hearts.
Last week, Frank had a dream in which he was convicted, quite literally, of his lack of generosity. Living generously isn’t living by a set of rules. It is a response to God’s love in our hearts. When our hearts are in line with God’s heart, generosity flows out of our lives. Our money is the most obvious indicator of our hearts in this area. It has been said time and time again, if you want to see someone’s priorities, look at their checkbook.
When we were children we knew this intuitively. Last week, a mom shared with me something that happened in her home. Her son had done exceptionally well in the classroom. It was a combination of things, including kind behavior, on time homework and good manners. As a result, he was rewarded with an opportunity to reach into the classroom “treasure box” and select a prize. The treasure box was stocked with all sorts of things for young boys and girls. There were bracelets, necklaces and small dolls for the girls. There were also matchbox cars, small games and toys appropriate for a boy. Her son could have chosen something for himself. Instead, he chose a small bracelet for his mother. Simply put, the love he had for his mother was greater than what he wanted for himself.
My hope and prayer for him and all of our children, is they grow up in a community that will not allow a love of things to supplant the of love of God and people. It is quite a challenge because everywhere and in every way we are bombarded with messages of want. The culture we live in shapes our appetite for things. We are told we can love all things. The truth is, the love of money and the love of things will push out a love for God. Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Jesus is not saying the value of money cannot be appreciated. What he is saying is that in your heart there is a throne and something or someone is on that throne. Our conversations, the use of our time and money all reveal what we serve and who sits on that throne.
This week in worship, we are going to follow Frank to the soup kitchen. Frank, like most of us, has a hard time confronting the pain and the poverty of the world. Our temptation is to write a check and distance ourselves from the overwhelming need in the world. However, our heart will never truly be open to God and His love unless we engage with the pain and the poverty of the world and start seeing with the eyes of God. This is the key to how we begin living differently. Being in “relationship” with the poor, broken, hurting and lost in this world is the way to the heart of God.
Every day of our lives we get to reach into life’s treasure box. God, in His goodness, has awarded us time, talents, resources, relationships and opportunities. We can spend our whole lives pulling stuff out for ourselves. Or, we can come alive and make a decision that we’re going to really love the God who has blessed us with every blessing.
Dr. David L. Davis