February 6, Thursday

Today’s AMI QT blog, written by Pastor Barry Kang of Symphony Church in Boston, was originally posted on March 10, 2014.

 

Devotional Thoughts for This Morning

“What Do You Love?”

1 John 2:15-17 (ESV)

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Is this the same apostle who quoted Jesus who declared, “God so loved the world that He gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16)?  How can we reconcile this apparent contradiction? Are we to love the world or not? Well, it depends on what we mean by the “world.” In John’s gospel, Jesus has in mind all the people whom the Father has created in His likeness.  However, in 1 John, the apostle is referencing the organized system of human civilization and activity that opposes God, and as a result, has been alienated from Him. This world is problematic because unlike God, it is dark and temporary. 

In one of John Ortberg’s books, When The Game Is Over, It All Goes Back In The Box, he recalls that moment when he finally beat his grandmother in a game of Monopoly.  Playing the game was fun, and winning it was even more exciting, but once it was over, all the game pieces had to be placed back into the box.  Ortberg was saying that if you love the game too much, empty feeling will be sure to follow. Apostle John reminds us of this same truth as he urges us not to love the world, or the things in the world, because “the world is passing away” (v.17).  I recall a pastor friend of mine who had a very expensive guitar that he treasured, but I was blown away when he decided to sell it and give the proceeds to his church’s building fund. This is a man who understood the difference between the temporary and the eternal!  

Is your first priority in life the things that are eternal, or are they the things that are passing away?  If they are temporary things, let us surrender them to God and ask that we would grow to love our eternal God more and more.

Prayer: Father, thank You for your promise of eternal life.  Help me to have the right perspective. So often the things that I am investing in are the temporary rather than the eternal.  Help me to love and fix my focus upon that which is eternal. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 3


Lunch Break Study  

Read Luke 12:13-21: Someone in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” 14 But He said to him, “Man, who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” 16 And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. 17 And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ 18 Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ 21 So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

Questions to Consider

  1. What is the request brought to Jesus in this passage?  Is there anything wrong with the request itself?  
  2. How does Jesus immediately respond this man? Why does he respond this way?
  3. What is the main point of the parable? 
  4. Take a moment and ask yourself honestly, how many of my prayer requests are born from a desire for earthly gain?

Notes

  1. A man asks Jesus to use His authority to tell his brother to share the [family] inheritance. On the surface, aside from being fairly childish, there doesn’t seem to be anything inherently sinful about the request. 
  2. Jesus responds with a question, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” Jesus’ response may seem unloving, as if He were saying, “I don’t want to deal with your problem. I’m not going to waste my time being a judge over your inheritance.”  But in reality, Jesus is saying, “I want to deal with your real problem. I’m not your judge; I am your inheritance.”  The real problem that Jesus identifies is covetousness; that is, materialism
  3. The main point of the parable is quite clear: The purpose of life is not to accumulate material possessions, rather the purpose of material possessions is to accumulate eternal rewards.
  4. Personal response

Evening Reflection

Does covetousness make it difficult for you to love others?  How can you use the resources that God has given you to help bring others into the Kingdom?

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