December 27, Sunday

REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Charles Choe who leads Tapestry Church in Los Angeles, was first posted on June 29, 2014.  Charles is a graduate of University of California, Riverside (BA) and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.).

Spiritual Food for Thought for This Morning 

“Decluttering Our Lives”

1 Timothy 6:17-19

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. [18] They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, [19] thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

Growing up, I was told not to leave any leftovers at the dinner table because African kids were dying of hunger every day. If my parents really wanted to drive the point home, they would go on about how eating steak, owning a car, or even having shelter was such a privilege for us. It might have gotten me to finish my vegetables, but it certainly didn’t make me a genuinely grateful child. Why not? Because soon, I was thinking, “Can I help it that I’m living in this country? And that this is just normal in America?” Guilt may have worked for the moment, but it had no substantive power to change me. 

The Bible is not into guilt. It says, “You know the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, who though he was rich became poor so that through his poverty you might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9), suggesting that anyone who has truly understood what Jesus has done for them, will learn to be generous. The Scripture is only interested in loosening the grip money has over us—this need to have more, this fear of not having enough—because these sentiments express a lack of faith in a generous God.  

This is not saying that we can’t enjoy pleasure; God has given us everything richly to enjoy. Rather, Paul is telling the rich Ephesians that when it comes to wealth, use it strategically. It’s a tremendous gift, latent with much potential for good. The Bible says, first, you can choose to spend it on yourself; second, you can give it all away in one swoop (monastery, anyone?); or the third and the most biblical option is, you can invest it in such a way that it continues to bear tremendous fruit. In other words, Paul is not calling the rich to no longer be rich, but he’s calling the rich to no longer live rich, but to be rich in good deeds. 

So how about if we take this Sunday and de-clutter a bit? Why not put a couple of bags together for the local Goodwill store? We can start there by strategizing as to how we can live more generously with our money and time for those who are hurting. Let’s arrive at a simpler lifestyle, with a new attitude toward money and material things. We know we can because of what Christ has done for us. It flows out of our changed heart, a heart that has been touched by the Gospel story. 

Prayer: Father, help me to declutter my life so that I keep only those things I cannot lose and let go things I cannot keep after I die.  Thank You for Your Son whom I cannot lose. Amen. 

Bible Reading for Today: Micah 3