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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Wrong Wall

You have probably heard the old warning about climbing the ladder of success only to find it leaning against the wrong wall.  There are a number of passages in the Bible that seem to validate that thought: Psalm 49:12, 20 (read the whole thing); Psalm 90:12; Job 27:8; Luke 12:16 – 21, 22 – 34; Ecclesiastes 9:10 – 11; 11:9; are just a few.
Is your ladder leaning against the wrong wall, or against no wall?  What do you do now?
Daily, we are assaulted with “good” things to do.  We sift through them; create structured do lists; read time management books or go to time management classes; we have smart phones, iPads, computer schedules with alarms.  To what end?  If we accomplish all that we have on the list (good luck with that), so what?  If we do all that and sacrifice, family, eternal life, relationship with people, what have we gained?  Matthew 6:19 – 21 and Mark 8:36 tell us that the treasure should be laid up in heaven and that if we squander our time here to gain what we will ultimately loose we are much to be pitied.

Eternity is a long time.  We need to invest our time here wisely, Ephesians 5:15 - 16.

3 comments:

  1. A good discussion, Mike. In the western Evangelical world (last 100 years?) there seems to have been a strong conviction communicated that defines the Kingdom of God in very narrow terms - basically that only activities not deemed "secular" were valid. Normally that was defined as Bible study/listening, prayer meetings, church activities, Christian things, giving one's money and time to organizations, those "evangelizing," etc. One's profession, while certainly necessary to provide one's family at least the most meager living (and the church, of course) was OK, but should require the least possible time and emotional involvement as possible. This was investing in the Kingdom.

    Perhaps that's an extreme conclusion, but was common in my early days of Christian growth, and I heard (and used myself) types of statements to that effect.

    But Jesus' words in Matthew 6:19-21 and 36 seem to not deal with activities, but with heart intent. I can do the same activities for the sake of treasure in heaven, or treasure on the earth. And it's not always easy to tell the difference in my actual intent. All true believers will struggle with keeping our minds on the things of the Spirit no matter how spiritual or secular are activities are or how much/how little we have of material stuff. The recent wild fires here in Colorado Springs helped many of the 347 families whose homes burned to barely a pile of ashes consider that reality deeply.

    What is the Kingdom of God we are to give ourselves to? That's a huge topic beyond this discussion. But, I am growing in the conviction that there is not a situation or endeavor I face in this life that does not bear on the Kingdom, there is not a realm that the Kingdom not touch or which is not a valid arena for Kingdom investment. My own health, or of my family. How I keep my yard and home as well as sharing the Great News of liberation in Christ with my neighbor. I personally thank God often for numerous men, women, husbands and wives who have labored years for multiple degrees to build professional qualifications (as well as impacting many on the way) to invest their lives and professions (English teaching, medicine, agriculture, social work, etc.)with long hours and exhausting labor and personal sacrifice to build the trust and confidence of people in societies hostile to the God of creation, so they can improve health, nutrition human relationships, etc. and at the same time learn both to demonstrate and then when possible communicate Truth in ways that can be understood. Jesus and the Apostles exhorted us to live lives that are fully integrated in purpose and activities (e.g. Colossians 3:17,23; the words, "all," and "whatever you do" are critical).

    And that's true here, in our own culture as well. Some are rewarded materially and some not so well. But the goal is the same - the Kingdom of God. It's helping bring the blessing of Abraham to every tongue, tribe and nation, family and language on earth. That has very earthly and extensive implication.

    Would love some interaction on this.

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    Replies
    1. I could not agree more. The wall is intention and focus. Perhaps Colossians 3:17, 23 is a good place to solve this. He gave us the gifts and abilities, He expects us to use them for His glory in either secular or sacred endeavors. Frankly, I chafe at that distinction. All endeavors are sacred in that we have been assigned them by the Sovereign Lord of the Kingdom.

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  2. Well I do not know if you have ever had a day like this, but today all that I touched took longer than it should have. Including this post. The first reference in Psalm 49 was wrong as well as the verse out of Job. It was one of those days.

    I have corrected the verses.

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