We have just had a weekend of remembrance for all of our fallen soldiers who have given
their lives for this nation. I am aware that the same attitude of patriotism does not exists as
it did at one time; sad. I grew up with it, we talked about it, we were excited about it and we
felt honored to participate in any celebration. I am concerned that we have lost a lot of
ground over the last few decades and what was once honored is now ridiculed or even
worse, dismissed as irrelevant. While I am specifically referencing America, the flag, and
apple pie, I fear the church has lost a lot of ground and is also experiencing ridicule and
accusations of being irrelevant.
It’s not that new things are always wrong things, but if the new replaces foundations the
building crumbles. To pursue the new, the latest, the trend, without vetting the benefits,
leads to a form of entertainment in the church rather than life transformation. I am aware
that each generation wrestles with change and we sometimes need to be dragged into what new thing God may be doing. However, I would urge us all to evaluate and assess the
direction we are going. As I have said to my students many times, “The Gospel does not
need to be tweaked.” It is now urgent that courageous men and women repeat the ancient refrain, “ask for the old paths ... and walk therein ....” (Jer. 6:16).
I ’m not suggesting that everything ‘old’ is better. Try hauling around the old cordless phone
in your purse. I am simply recommending a sober evaluation of the status of the church, our ministries, and personal relationship with the Lord. Psalm 51:12 says, “Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation...” Let’s find that place of honor once again and reinstate the ‘awe’ in
awesome when referring to our God!
The other day, I started watching a show about a successful guy who sits down with people and helps them with their finances. As I watched the first episode, I was struck by how uncomfortable the first two couples he helped were about talking about their finances with each other. They didn’t seem terribly uncomfortable talking to the host of the show, but they seemed pretty uncomfortable talking with each other. These two couples had been married for years. How can that be? Why are people so uncomfortable talking about finances?
In Matthew 6:21, Jesus makes the following famous statement, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Perhaps that is why we find it so difficult or uncomfortable to talk about finances; it exposes what is in our hearts. Nothing so clearly or quickly cuts to the chase of where our hearts are than our bank accounts. What could expose our desires more than our credit cards, consumer debt, overdraft fees, or Amazon Prime purchase history?
The purpose of this letter is to remind us to take inventory of our lives. Right before the bit about your treasure and your heart, Jesus says in verse 20, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Sometimes I think about stuff way too much. I have a family after all. I want them to have the best. What father and husband doesn’t? I think that’s OK to want good stuff. But may it never be that I become so focused on treasures in this life that I forget the best investment of all.
May our prayers be like that of the Psalmist:
Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!