Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Sold Out


 

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” – Matthew 13:44

There was a furniture store in the town I grew up in that would go “out of business” at least once a year.  They would say they were going to sell out, and then a few weeks after their “going out of business” sale, the son would buy the business from the father, or vice versa.  It was a marketing plan, aimed at convincing everyone that heard of their selling out to come in and buy furniture.  As I read Matthew 13:44 this morning, it occurred to me that we are often like that furniture store. 

In Matthew 13:44 we read of a man who discovered the Kingdom of Heaven as a man that discovered a field.  Recognizing how valuable it was, that it was the most important thing of all, he was overjoyed at what he had found and sold all that he had and bought it.  The man was sold out to God, completely leaving his old life behind. 

There’s a statistic I heard this past weekend that 80% of all Americans believe in God.  But to believe and not to follow is not really believing.   If we truly believed in God, we would believe His word, we would realize that our lives here are short, and eternity last much longer.  We would be planning for eternity instead of retirement.  We would be seeking to know God, who He is, what makes Him smile, what makes Him cry, what makes Him proud of us, knowing we will one day be faced with Him on the judgment seat.  We would be sold out.  But instead, like the furniture store, we have the pretense of being sold out.

Most Christians in America do two things, and only two things.  They go to church, and they tithe.  They don’t read their Bibles on their own, and they don’t pray regularly.  Before you read that and feel accomplished because you do more than most, ask yourself if this is the measurement you want to use.  Are you really doing that great if you just skim by a little above what the average Christian does? 

We give our tithes because that’s what God wants from us.  But we’re not going to be like the widow who gave from her poverty instead of her wealth.  We’re not going to give till it hurts.  Our sacrifice doesn’t cost us as much as it should.  In fact, for most of us, we’re blessed so far above the tithe we are to give that it isn’t sacrifice at all.  We see it more as paying a bill that’s due than a way of worshipping God.  We’re content giving our 10% and never even give God a tip as we would the waitress at our Sunday lunch table.  We settle for doing what is expected.

We attend church because we think that’s what God wants from us.  At least, it is what people expect of a Christian.  So we sit on a pew once a week, expecting God to one day say “well done, my good and faithful servant”.  But have we served Him – really served Him - if we have not fed the hungry, cared for the widows, or visited those in prison?  Have we served by sitting?

In Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus speaks of judgment day when all will be gathered to Him and He sits on the throne.  The righteous and the unrighteous will be divided as sheep and goats.  To the righteous, not those that sat on a pew, God will say “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’  To the unrighteous He says “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink;  I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me. He doesn’t mention going to church as one of the things that made Him proud of the righteous or disappointed in the unrighteous. 

We’ve accepted what Man calls “Christianity” and neglected what God intends it to be.  We judge ourselves by the wrong ruler.  To try to please God and Man is like trying to play baseball on a football field.  The rules are just not the same!

Even now, some will read this and feel that feeding the poor, clothing those who need clothes and visiting widows isn’t their work but someone else’s.  We feel that this is going “overboard”.  We feel that this is for those that are “called” to that kind of work.  But it is our calling!  James 4:17 says him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin”.  God shouldn’t have to twist your arm and give you confirmation to get you to do something good for someone else.  Being a Christian is being Christ-like.  Jesus Christ is a giver, a healer, a provider, a friend – even closer than a brother.

Until we are sold out, giving all we have for the kingdom of God, I don’t think we deserve to be known by the name of Jesus Christ as “Christians”.  Isn’t that as misleading as the furniture store that continually went “out of business”?

2 comments:

  1. AnonymousMay 14, 2013

    Jesus told the rich young man to sell his treasured possessions and give to the poor; many churches say treasured possessions are blessings from God--and these possessions include church buildings, so give to the church.

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  2. We are told to give to the church through tithes - and God blesses those who do (Malachi 3:8-10). But often I find that churches are more interested in having a big bank account than using their money to feed the poor that are often living within a mile of their big building. 1 Timothy 6:17-18 says that we are to be willing to share, and not put our hope in wealth. A storehouse, as Malachi calls it, is a farm building used for storing up a harvest which is used to feed in the winter times, and times of no crops. I think one of the ways in which we have failed God is in holding on to what is His, and neglecting those He wants us to serve. Thanks for your comment JesusandTheBible. It's been a long time since anyone commented :)

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