“You only live life once”. You hear that all the time and the general meaning is to get all you can, do all you can, live for pleasure all you can because you only get one shot. Well you definitely only live life once, but it’s for all eternity not a few decades. And we should be striving to get all of God that we can, living in obedience (which is the ultimate pleasure) all we can and doing all the good works in Jesus name that we can. Live for life for the creation, or the Creator… for things or for God. That’s the choice.
The very “things” that God gave us as gifts,
now threaten to become more important to us than the Giver.
The battle rages for the heart of man. Once the domain of only God, a thousand material temptations now demand our loyalty, time and love. God can fight that battle for us… if we are standing on His side.
Life is risky and uncertain; invest your blessings and time wisel on things that matter eternally
Galatians 6:7 (NKJV) Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. (NKJV)
- Ecclesiastes 11:1 Cast your bread upon the waters, For you will find it after many days.
- “Send out your grain in many ships” is a paraphrase of this verse
- In Solomon’s time it would be months before the income from a shipment was realized; the owner had no way to control what would happen to the ships; many things could happen bad
- Life is a risk, an adventure; have faith in God and take a risk to live for God;
- We can’t control what happens in life; don’t live scared; “cast your bread”
- Ecclesiastes 11:2 Give a serving to seven, and also to eight, For you do not know what evil will be on the earth.
- Know why you work and how to use it wisely – know where to “give a serving” – know how to use what God has given you to make the best eternal investment
- “Don’t put your eggs in one basket”
- Diversify your efforts and be good to as many people as you can
- What comes around goes around
- Relationships are what count, so put your wealth to good use by being good to people and helping them because you never know what will happen in this life
- Ecclesiastes 11:3 If the clouds are full of rain, They empty themselves upon the earth; And if a tree falls to the south or the north, In the place where the tree falls, there it shall lie.
- There are some things in life that WILL occur… good WILL happen; bad WILL happen – we just do not know when or where or what
- Life happens to everyone, no one is exempt or protected
- The clouds here speak of the future, and the trees speak of the past
- The future is uncertain: will it rain or not? You can’t really tell from the clouds but you can make a good guess, but still a guess… trust God!
- Learn to let the past go… if a tree falls, it lies; you can’t change it. Just move on and trust God!
- Ecclesiastes 11:4-6 He who observes the wind will not sow, And he who regards the clouds will not reap. As you do not know what is the way of the wind, Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, So you do not know the works of God who makes everything. In the morning sow your seed, And in the evening do not withhold your hand; For you do not know which will prosper, Either this or that, Or whether both alike will be good.
- Live life now; don’t wait; don’t look for the “perfect time” or you will never do anything; being over-cautious (truly overly-cautious) keeps us from ever attempting to do anything
- We don’t know what God will do, how He will do it or why He does it; so just step out in faith and do SOMETHING
- God is concerned about our motives, attitudes and faith
- Right decisions will follow a right heart
- Learn to live in trust and faith in God
Prosperity solves some problems while creating others.
Material prosperity brings a mixed bag of blessings. Many things in life are made easier, cured, fixed or solved… but often times it creates a new problem unknown before that time. For example:
- Many physical diseases have been cured, but the diseases of the prosperous (stress, depression, boredom, covetousness, etc.) are at all time highs
- Superstitions and pagan religious fear has decreased but so has our trust in anything that is not physical (medicine, science, etc.)
- Our labor is easier but laziness and idleness are epidemic
- Transportation is amazing now but extended family communities don’t exist anymore which helps erode the family unit as God created it
- We can get away from each other, relationships and problems at record speed as well as pursue opportunities that take us far away from our support group and accountability
- Daily tasks are done faster and easier but our lives are busier and more overloaded than ever
- We do each task faster, thereby freeing up more time to add more tasks
- Most people claim to be very busy and have no time for rest or God even though very few people do without TV, movies, sports, etc.
- Information is at our finger tips but it brings ungodliness and filth to every home via TV and the Internet as well as consumes our lives with trivial, ever-changing information
- Communication is instant to anyone anywhere and now we are all robbed of any peace or privacy or solitude
- We are dying of “easy accessibility”; how many times has someone gotten mad at your because you had the audacity to turn off your cell phone?
Material possessions, wealth, technology and progress are all gifts from God when view in Godly perspective. We must be aware of the “price” that comes attached and counter it appropriately with spiritual safeguards.
Everything we have is God’s
Psalm 24:1 – The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein. (NKJV)
I remember the day that this principle hit home with me. Through an unfair and unjust act, a person was going to be getting a fairly large amount of money from me that they neither deserved nor had been truthful about. One of my mentors reminded me that it was God’s money, and if He allowed them to have it, who was I too question it?
Oh, how the anxiety of the situation melted when I brought my perspective in line with God. It WAS all God’s money! And guess what? He is quite big enough to take care of it Himself. So if God was allowing His money to be moved from me to someone else, why was I worried about it? About two seconds after getting my spiritual perspective straight, the “unfairness” of the situation became irrelevant. I didn’t have to be discouraged, upset or worried about God’s money… it’s His money and He can well do with it as He pleases!
God can decide what to do with His stuff quite nicely without me, thank you very much.
- Deuteronomy 8:18 – “And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. (NKJV)
- Everything we have is God’s; not 10%, not what’s left over, not what you decide to give Him;
- Even the power to earn money in the first place comes from God!
- Psalm 50:10-12 – For every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine. “If I were hungry, I would not tell you; For the world is Mine, and all its fullness. (NKJV)
- God doesn’t need “our” money; He wants our hearts
- If God were hungry (rhetorical) He would NOT tell us; He owns everything already!
- Job 41:11 – Who has preceded Me, that I should pay him? Everything under heaven is Mine. (NKJV)
- God doesn’t owe us anything; He owns it all
- We have no right to think we deserve anything; we should simply be thankful for what we do have!
Great God, help us , help us, help us to see how fiercely “things” want control of heart. In Jesus Name, amen.
Contemplation: Do you live life as if you are fairly certain what tomorrow will be like? How about 10, 20 or 50 years from now? Are benefiting in some ways from material prosperity but now suffering in other ways you didn’t before (worry, stress, over-work, too busy, strung out, etc)? How much of what you have is God’s? If you lost every penny today, could you have an attitude of “it’s God’s money, He can do with it as He pleases”? Would you be able to trust Him to take care of you, or do YOU take care of you?
Application: God does not allow us to know what life will bring. Each day we have a choice to live for Him, or live for “things. If “things” have gotten you too busy, too stressed and too consumed to pursue fellowship with God, then you are using GOD’s things to push Him out of your life.
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?