For Sunday, August 11, 2013
Year C, Proper 14
The investors among us know that it’s helpful to complete reviews of our portfolios periodically. Which holdings are doing well? Which are doing poorly? Does the strategy still make sense? This passage is an invitation to complete a portfolio review on our very lives.
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom” (v. 32). To what extent do we live in financial fear and accordingly constrain what God wants to do with us? If we really believed we are being given God’s kingdom how might we live differently? Earlier in our lives, my wife Heather and I took this to heart by leaving the business world to serve the church in Russia. The fear we had in doing so was completely unjustified. We never lacked. Sure, there were days where there was only a dollar in our earthly account, but this was returned to us 100 times in lboth secular and eternal rewards. You and I are being given the kingdom of God, and we would do well to set our financial (and vocational) priorities accordingly.
“Sell your possessions and give to the poor” (v. 33). Is your inner voice speaking as mine does? “Yeah right. Who actually does this?” The people who do this are smart investors who understand that a clutter of possessions merely chokes the joy out of life. We don’t need to sell our homes and cars to begin to experience the blessing to which this verse invites us. How about starting with all of the junk in the garage and in the basement? What if we sold this stuff used the proceeds to bless someone else in need? Have you ever heard of eBay? Where is the downside? With a positive experience from this first step the sky might be the limit.
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (v. 34). How much of my treasure is in my 401(k), IRA, and bank accounts? Alternately, how much of my treasure is in the eternal investments I’ve already made, am making, and will make? Is the next car or the next career move really going to bring me greater life satisfaction? Or is the real payout in seeing how I can use my current car and my current position to make eternal investments that can neither be stolen away nor rust into oblivion? Is my treasure in the here and now or the there and then?
Let’s each use this day to complete our own portfolio reviews. Where am I letting fear cloud my judgment? What possessions could I sell to enjoy greater simplicity while also being a tangible blessing to someone else? Is my portfolio more focused on the here and now or the there and then?
How is God speaking to you through all of this? What is one thing he is prompting you to do about it this week? Would you be willing to share it here so that we are mutually encouraged and you are duly emboldened?