New Year … New Heart

What do you place value in? We all strive to live comfortably, and to have some nice things, but what does the bible say about our “things”?  When reading this morning, this sentence stopped me: “For what is highly admired by people is revolting in God’s sight.” I had to park on that sentence for a while and think about what it is that I highly admire.  Here is the context in which it was given: “The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and scoffing at Him. And He told them: You are the ones who justify yourselves in the sight of others, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly admired by people is revolting in God’s sight. The Law and the Prophets were until John: since then, the good news of the kingdom of God has been proclaimed, and everyone is strongly urged to enter it. But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter in the law to drop out.”  Luke 16: 14-17   We know that God provides finances for those who give generously and their gift is giving. But what makes them different from the Pharisees, who were lovers of money?  Is it possible to have much and still put Jesus first in your lives?   There are many who have become rich and who put Jesus first in their lives. They use riches as a way to minister to others. They don’t put their whole value of life in money or things. Those who live to make money and who love having money more than giving it away, or providing for others, put that which is revolting in God’s sight before their faith.  I know that I have been favored with much, and I also love to give. I also want that which I have, to be a blessing for the Lord, and I know in my heart that if all of it was gone tomorrow, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference, because it’s only stuff. But it’s at times a hard line to manage. For the benefit of having stuff makes one feel good, and it’s not the having things that makes a person unfaithful, but it’s the love of having things. Notice the first part of the verses above start with, “The Pharisees, who were lovers of money,” They didn’t want to hear Jesus tell them that, “Whoever is faithful in very little, is also faithful in much, and whoever is unrighteous in very little is also unrighteous in much. ” Luke 16:10  The question begs to be answered: Are we faithful with whatever we have?  If it’s little, are we faithful with what God would have us do with the little we have. If it’s a lot, are we faithful with what God would have us do with a lot? Jesus was talking to the disciples and was telling them about collecting treasures on earth and would say to them: “No one can be a slave to two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot be slaves of God and of money.” Matthew 6:24   This is not about how much you have, for one who has little can still serve money more than God.  And one who has a lot can still serve God first. You see, it’s all about the heart. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” 6:21  This is the start of the New Year, but the message is old and true, and we need Jesus more than ever in our lives now. Why not take a moment to discern whether we have been sliding away from the faith that at one time made us so real, to the world that has us so confused. The good news is stil l the good news, and if we stop and think about it for a moment, we can get the true treasure back to where it belongs – in our hearts. Pastor Andy

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