Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I have just got back from a weekend ministry trip in London where I met up with several guys from Harvester Church, Cape Town including Apostle André Pelser.
It was a great weekend of fun, fellowship and ministry, despite having to endure the embarrassing spectacle of the England verses South Africa match with three South Africans.
As I journeyed back on the tube I saw a poster for a website entitled 'I want want of those.com'. What a contrast to the weekend's blessing. A website that clearly is enticing people to buy not what they need but what they want even if they can't afford it. I began to think of how many families at this particular time are going to go into debt at Christmas because of 'I want one of those' mentalities.
As a child I was told never to ask for things or I wouldn't get them. That continued into my parenting of children too. I then realised that even this was an extreme that wasn't right. As a father I should want my kids to enjoy life and teach them that sometimes we do receive rewards from those who love us. I have learned that my heavenly Father also rewards and delights in His children and sometimes for no apparent reason He just blesses us. I revel in His delight in me and it is such a strength and comfort.
The Bible is full of wisdom concerning money and materialism. Good advice that will help us to prosper in the correct way. Even this divine book has been used in an extreme way. Some of the teaching on prosperity has more to do with 'I want one of those' than 'My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory" (Philippians 4:19). In the full context Paul tells us about how he handles need and plenty:-
10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
14 Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress. 15 Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. 16 For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. 18 Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. 19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 20 Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Paul found a place of contentment in need and plenty. He was glad their care had revived for him but this wasn't the basis for that contentment. His contentment was in his relationship with Christ. His strength for living was from Christ.
Things are nice to have, although most things we get for Christmas are forgotten in a few days.
What do I want for Christmas? I want to find that same place that Paul found. A place in Christ where He strengthens me and I am content in that