Archive for the ‘Possessions’ Category

On Possessions

We have appreciated the cooler weather of the last few days. I have no personal fishing report yet, although I did see some really nice largemouth bass that two ladies had caught Friday afternoon.

I find we are still having to deal with years of collecting things we thought we had to have. In fact, due to the amount of stuff we still possess, we have purchased another piece of property here at the lake. We will now have a place to keep our “overflow”, that is the tractor and its attachments, the little pontoon boat, golf cart, etc. This does not mean we have found the answer to the problem of having these things, downsizing must continue.

I am continually reminded of scripture that warns of letting material goods take first place in our lives. Note: It’s not my wife that keeps reminding me, she has stuff, too. Could it be the Spirit of God tapping me on the shoulder, saying “enough already”?

As I talk with other people, I find we are not the only ones dealing with the abundance of things not needed. Many of us are having this struggle. What is the answer to this? God’s word has some suggestions.

“If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (Jesus, speaking to the rich young man in Matthew 19:21). “A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). In the follow-up to his story of the rich man who built more bins to hold his grain, Jesus had this advice for his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes” (Luke 12:22-23).

Here is a final thought on this subject. I read this statement a few years ago, and it comes to mind now. “Someday, all your valued possessions will fit in a small drawer in some nursing home.”

Blessings,
Pastor Jerry

Ready or Not?

The storm last week left us with an estimated 12” of snow here in our back yard. I thought I was prepared for snow, but my preparations were incomplete. I had put the snow-blower on the tractor, but instead of putting the tractor in the shed, I let it sit out. Big Mistake! Next morning, I could hardly see the tractor for the snow piled on top of it.
It seems many of our preparations stop short of being complete. Here is an another example of something that happens occasionally at our house. I enjoy cooking now and then. My meal planning usually involves meat and potatoes, but when those items are nearly ready, my wife will ask, “What are we going to have for a vegetable? Incomplete preparation on my part—again. So we wait for the veggies, while the meat and taters cool.
 Some lack of preparation may bring temporary inconvenience or discomfort, but what about our preparations for eternity? Is it possible to make incomplete plans for what happens after this life? I believe there are many who believe there is life after death, but sadly, their plans for it have come short of completion.
Three of the gospel writers recorded a conversation Jesus had with a young man. The man’s question was, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answered, “If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.”
“All these I have kept”, the young man said. What do I still lack?”
When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me”
When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. (Matthew 19:16-22).
You see, keeping the 10 commandments does not bring salvation. First of all, it is impossible to keep them, and second, eternal life is not gained by keeping a list of rules. Salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ. The young man in our story had made incomplete preparations, and was unwilling to do the one thing required. That one thing was to be willing to give up everything and follow Jesus. Since he would not complete the requirement, he was lost.
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).
In Truth,
Pastor Jerry

Leave It There

It’s Monday again, and time for another news update and devotional thought. I would never have believed, when I started composing these articles, that I would still be doing it. Thanks to all who have encouraged me along the way.

We are still in the moving process. I believe one never has a true understanding of how many things we accumulate until we try to move it from one place to another. I was told yesterday of a man who said everyone should put their place up for sale every ten years. The point is you may or may not sell it, but you will get it cleaned up. Wise words, I believe.

I am reminded once more of those Bible passages that speak of being unhindered in our Christian journey. The writer of Hebrews gives the illustration of an athlete running a race, leaving behind the things that slow him down and hinder his best effort. “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1). You get the picture.

The things that weigh us down and hinder our journey are many. Perhaps it is a load of guilt, or some sin that goes unconfessed that keeps us from being all that a Christian can be. Other burdens we may bear are jealousy, unforgiveness, anger, resentment, worry, and any number of others. Jesus encourages us to bring them to him, to come and leave them at the foot of the cross, as it were. Our problem most of the time, is that we lay our burdens down, then pick them up again when we leave. As we allow Him to remove those heavy loads we are carrying, we are able to live as free men and women. These are Jesus’ words; “You will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:29-30).

Allow me to quote the words of an old hymn:
“Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.
Leave it there, leave it there,
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there;
If you trust and never doubt,
He will surely bring you out—
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.

Resting in Him,
Pastor Jerry

Storing Up Treasures

Hello everyone,
Happy Leap Day! I have really enjoyed the warm temperatures of the weekend. I guess Spring is officially a few weeks away, but I am enjoying the preview.

The “move” is slowly progressing. I knew we had a lot of “stuff”, having kept as many as three houses furnished over the last 15 or so years. What I didn’t know, was the actual size of the collection. What really concerns me, is we haven’t even started on my stuff!

There is a reason Jesus reminded his listeners they were to store up treasures in heaven, instead of here on earth. These are His words: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19-20).

None if these things we have collected will go with us to heaven. Obviously the food will be eaten at some point (unless the moths get it), and the clothing will wear out (or be outgrown). There are charities that will take the surplus clothing. We don’t plan on having thieves break in, but there is a good possibility we may call in an auction company to help disperse the excess.

As we make these decisions—what do we keep and what do we throw away; what do we pass on to others? —another scripture comes to mind. In it, Jesus speaks to the issue of worry. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, and what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?… And why do you worry about clothes? …so do not worry, ‘saying what shall we eat?’ or What shall we drink? …or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:25-34).

After reading this, maybe I’ll just go fishing! Have a great week.

In Him,
Pastor Jerry