We put time,
energy and interest into that which we esteem valuable. We have more
leisure time today than any past generation ever did. The sad fact
is that "the love of many has waxed cold" for the things
of Christ, while zeal can still be found for activities outside service
to Christ. Moses esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than
the treasures in Egypt and so should we. The possessions and glory
of this life are temporal and soon to pass away for ever, "but
the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Cor. 4:18). "The
fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness,
goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (self-control)" (Gal. 5:22).
If we spend our time cultivating these qualities, we shall receive
an "inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth
not away" (1 Pet. 1:4).
We need to sharpen our vision of the coming Kingdom;
for where there is no vision the people perish" (Prov. 29:18). How
real is the Kingdom in our eyes? When this vision is blurred
by "the things that are seen", peril faces us.
We must not fret because of the prosperity of the wicked about
us, for they shall soon be cut down (Psalm 37). Our hopes are
fixed upon the future, not on the present, and are guaranteed
by the Almighty, independent of human striving.
"A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he
possesseth" (Luke 12:15). His most valued possession is life itself: "For
what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his
life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?" (Matt. 16:26
R.S.V.). Contrary to these principles, our neighbours in the world have
made possessions their god and every effort is made to increase them. But
the unprecedented riches of this age have not brought contentment. Instead,
the possession of much has led to the desire for even more. Such is the
avarice of the human heart.
The world's advertising insidiously panders to man's pride and
prestige. We are encouraged to buy things which are "bigger", "better" and "improved",
while discarding those which are generally adequate. Thus, almost
unconsciously, men bow to the god of this world.
Our Heavenly Father has freely given that which
can bring contentment: "godliness
with contentment is great gain" (1 Tim. 6:6). This contentment
centres in what Christ can give: "He that cometh to me shall
never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst" (John
6:35). Faith, hope and love find their most perfect expression
in the promises of an all-wise and merciful Creator.
Because we are flesh, we are liable to be caught
up in the tangle of materialism. We need the eye
of faith to avoid placing value upon "the things which are seen".
"Seek ye first
the kingdom of God, and His righteousness" (Matt. 6:33).
The Lord Jesus Christ had "not
where to lay his head" (Luke 9:58). In professing to be
his followers, we accept the wisdom of the exhortation: "Set
your affection on things above, NOT ON THINGS ON THE EARTH" (Col.
3:2). The question remains do we uphold this in our daily life?
We need to constantly assess our values. If we spend time, money and
energy on this world's goods to the neglect of Christ, then we need
to change our ways. Where our treasure is, there will our heart be
also. We cannot serve God and mammon (Matt. 6:19-34).