WE CAN’T GO ON LIKE THIS! part 3
How people spend their time is a direct reflection of what they value. Following after status and the acquisition of more has replaced family time in many households. I have talked with a number of people who commute an hour plus each way to work. When asked if they will move closer to their job the answer is almost always that they can afford more (house, education, etc.) by living further away. The precious commodity of time in rest or with family has become of less value than gaining more.
God’s word gives us a lot of clear teaching about the proper use of time and resources. In the first book of the bible (Genesis) we find that God rested on the seventh day after creating all. Genesis 2:1-3 New International Version (NIV) Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. From the beginning we have been led to rest one day in seven. The fourth commandment also tells us to remember the Sabbath day by keeping it Holy. The Sabbath is a day of rest from regular work. That rest could be in the form of recreation or inactivity. There is great benefits mentally and physically to taking regular rest days.
Money is also taught on extensively throughout scripture. There are warnings about dishonest gain as well as proper use of legitimately acquired wealth. The condition we find ourselves in today as a nation can be summed up in 1 Timothy 6:10; For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. We accept many lies, destroy our families, and work ourselves to an early death in the pursuit of more. The result is a financial burden that is most likely going to collapse our economy if we do not change.
As of the writing of these words the state I live in has not created a balanced budget. Even our state lottery is not allowed to make payouts on big ‘wins’ until the budget issue is resolved. This is a direct result of poor stewardship of finances. The sad reality is this stewardship condition is the same for most American households and our entire economic system. As a nation we have subjected ourselves to a golden idol in the form of material possessions. As the saying goes “just a little more would make me happy”. The result has become bondage to debt in our constant pursuit of more. At the extreme edges of the ‘more mentality’ is greed and along with that is various forms of hoarding, be it wealth or stuff. Things have become of greater value than people and relationships.
The church body is not immune to the affliction of poor stewardship. Many churches in America are in dire straits financially due to poor decisions. In a desperate attempt to meet financial obligations some churches have turned to improper teaching about wealth. Congregants are coerced into serving more and giving more. This is sometimes done by leaders dangling the carrot of prosperity. The state lottery and casinos also gives a false hope of easy wealth but they do not misquote scripture in the process.
There is a cure for our financial afflictions, it is to serve God fully and allow Him to be the master of our time and money. Matthew 6:24 No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Rev. Burt Schwab