I was in another country at one time and was invited to have lunch with a man who, materially speaking, had everything this world could offer. In fact, he expressed to me how he could buy anything he wanted. He had traveled extensively in business; everything he touched seemed to turn to gold. He was leader of his social set, and yet in his own words he said, ‘I’m a miserable old man, doomed to die. If there is a hell, that’s where I’m headed.’ I looked through the beautiful old windows at the snow falling gently on the manicured lawn and thought about others, like him, who had expressed to me similar thoughts about the emptiness of life without God— I thought about the meaninglessness of life for a man who has everything to live with, but nothing to live for. ”
How To Be Born Again |
Billy Graham points us back to the truth of Jesus’ words: “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36) Our souls matter more than money and possessions, but the world doesn’t want us to believe that. It’s time to listen to Jesus again.
I have nothing which I have not received. I can boast of no inherent righteousness. Had the Lord not chosen me, I should not have chosen Him. Grace! Grace! Grace! ’Tis all of grace… My weakness is my greatest strength, for then I trust alone on Jesus, when I feel my own dependence. I am an earthen vessel, I have been among the pots of the unregenerate; make me now a vessel for Thy use! ”
C.H. Spurgeon The Early Years |
Spurgeon wrote these reflections in May of 1850. He was sixteen, had just been baptized, and now had a fresh fire to be used by God in his day and generation. But what strikes me is his humility to recognize that his strength and usefulness came from Jesus and not himself. Humility is a lesson hard to learn, but the more we get it the more useful to our Master we become.
We are walking through this world under the eye of God, in the direction of God and towards our everlasting hope… If we have a right view of ourselves in this world as pilgrims, as children of God going to our Father, everything falls into its true perspective. We shall immediately take a right view of our gifts and our possessions. We begin to think of ourselves only as stewards who must give an account of them. We are not the permanent holders of these things. ”
Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, Vol. 2 |
Lloyd-Jones links an eternal perspective and a right view of money beautifully. Jesus calls us to view money, wealth, and possession not as a means to building our kingdoms here and now, but as means for building his eternal kingdom and bringing others into it. This sermon preached by Lloyd-Jones in the 1950s in London still speaks!
There is indeed none by which the Christian’s state on earth is in the word of God more frequently imaged, or more happily illustrated, than by that of a journey… The Christian is traveling on business through a strange country…if it be rough and rainy, he cares not much, he is but a traveler. He is traveling to a ‘better country,’ a country of unclouded light and undisturbed serenity. He finds also by experience, that when he has had the least of external comforts, he has always been least disposed to loiter. ”
A Practical View of Christianity |
Wilberforce, the great abolitionist, wrote a book on Christian doctrine and it’s brilliant. He called it his manifesto and here we see this master orator blend a rich biblical understanding with sparkling and helpful language. We also catch a glimpse of how he endured such fierce trials in his fight against slavery. Comfort wasn’t his goal. He saw himself as a pilgrim on a grand journey headed home.
I am persuaded that the reason why the churches are in so much difficulty about giving a lead in the economic sphere is because they are trying to fit a Christian standard of economics to a wholly false and pagan understanding of work… Work is not primarily a thing one does to live, but the thing one lives to do. It is, or should be, the full expression of the worker’s faculties... the thing in which he finds spiritual, mental, and bodily satisfaction, and the medium in which he offers himself to God. ”
Letters To A Diminished Church |
Dorothy Sayers has a big view of God and big view of work. I stumbled across this collection of her essays and found them to be deep and challenging. She argues strongly that money is not the goal of work, but work well done to the glory of God is the goal. She helps us see again that our work is an act of worship.