From the sermon at Eastview Christian Church on 6/15/14, I captured that 80% of the world’s population makes less than $2.50 per day. Interestingly enough, as this blog post and readings were permeating through my mind, one of my kids asked if we are “rich”. Compared to 80% of the world’s population, all of us in the USA are financially rich. Apart from financial riches, God also blesses us with the other “riches” such as spiritual, joy, health, and talents. Sadly, too often “riches” are thought of in the financial realm, and attributed to our own good works or success, and we use those riches for our own purposes instead of their Godly intent.
Today’s readings: Exodus 22; John 1; Job 40; 2 Corinthians 10
Recently, one of my contributions at work resulted in some kudos. As I was working on this contribution, I knew it was going to be good. I knew it would result in praise and the anticipation of the praise kept building in my heart and mind. I certainly believed I deserved it. The thing is that when I received the kudos and was under the limelight, it seemed like this millisecond in time, and poof, it was done and over. I was depressed in thinking, “that was nice, but that’s it?” I was then convicted.
No matter how cleverly I try to deny or justify my thinking, I had built up sinful pride and sought to do good so that ultimately I could attempt to save myself. I wanted the praise so that those who make decisions as to the future of my contract would be assured that their investment in me was worthwhile. I was acting under the lie that God has most things under control. It was as if my superiors miss out on something good that I’ve done, well that would be my fault, so it was up to me to be sure to let them know how good I am. What I fool I was. I was putting my trust in me almighty instead of God almighty. Consider God’s response to Job’s pride, a crushing blow to my own pride. God was challenging Job for questioning or doubting Him. God was describing some of his own attributes and basically saying that if Job had these God attributes he could save himself, however Job was a mere human fully dependent on God to save him.
All right, put on your glory and splendor,
your honor and majesty.
Give vent to your anger.
Let it overflow against the proud.
Humiliate the proud with a glance;
walk on the wicked where they stand.
Bury them in the dust.
Imprison them in the world of the dead.
Then even I would praise you,
for your own strength would save you. (Job 40:10-14; NLT)
Unfortunately I also gave into the temptation that my works were somehow the result that I might be better than I actually am. I was boasting in myself, perhaps not verbally but in my heart and mind. Maybe no human noticed, but God did, and he revealed this to me through his Holy Spirit. Every gift and talent we have is commended, originated, given by the Lord. It isn’t ours for our own gain.
“Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends. (2 Corinthians 10:17-18)
For what gives you the right to make such a judgment? What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift? (1 Corinthians 4:7; NLT)
One of the wonderful things about daily Bible reading and daily prayer is that this keeps God’s word and truth close to our heart. I’m so thankful that God’s Holy Spirit and word was with me, to convict me of my selfish line of thinking – and this is what we can and should boast on: He is with us always, speaking, teaching, and correcting. As a result, repentance and redemption gave me far greater joy than any words or rewards from any human, and it will always be this way; this is God’s economy. This sort of joy is so counter to what the world thinks, and I believe it is one of the many reasons this place often seems so messed up, as well as one of the reasons so many people are depressed. We celebrate the wrong things, the fleeting moments instead of the repentant sinner, the prodigal son, the life changed through the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:5)
Would you consider joining me in repentance today? Every time I humbly ask “God, please reveal my sins”, he certainly comes through on this prayer, and it hurts, but the pain is temporary. In our sin, we’re living in darkness. However, Jesus, the light of the world shines his light in that darkness and through Him, and only Him, are our sins forgiven, and we’re back under the only light that matters.