Priorities In The Kingdom Of Heaven
“Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, Cease from your consideration of it. When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings Like an eagle that flies toward the heavens.” (Proverbs 23:4,5 NASB)
Another translation of “cease from the consideration of it” is “be discerning enough to desist”… I suppose this might be the Scriptural rendition of “know when to hold ‘em, and when to fold ‘em. (?) Worldly wealth is always an elusive thing that flies away from us. Why? Because “the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1 John 2:17)
Somehow this reminds me of an old song called “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles”. The lyrics go like this:
I’m forever blowing bubbles
Pretty bubbles in the air
They fly so high, nearly reach the sky
Then like my dreams they fade and die
Fortune’s always hiding
I’ve looked everywhere
I’m forever blowing bubbles
Pretty bubbles in the air.
You can hear the Doris Day rendition here:
It appears that things have not changed much. All over the world, it’s about the “pretty bubbles” – the American dream… the envy of the rest of the world.
Pretty bubbles feature big this time of year as well, as people seek to give or get the most lavish gifts, as if the price tag is any indicator of love or depth of relationship.
Could it be this is where even all the global conflicts arise – who has more pretty bubbles than the next one? My bubbles aren’t good enough. I want yours!
As I began my day, so is its end, for this morning’s focus for meditation was John 6:27 – “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.” The word “sealed” used here means to stamp as with a signet or private mark for security or preservation.
God’s kingdom isn’t about the pretty bubbles. It is lasting. Everlasting. And secure. Psalm 143:13 informs us, “Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.” God doesn’t deal in eagles that fly away from us, nor pretty bubbles that fade away and die with our dreams.
Yet how often do we hear the “encouragement” (better word, please?) to “follow your dreams”, and “go for it”, or to spend your life in self seeking and satisfying? God’s “economy” – how things really work in the Universe – is about giving, not getting. And giving without a view of anything in return… Far too radical an idea. Even in the churches. God must be more joyous than anyone – all He does is live to give, to bless. For God is love!
There must be some need of communicating what is being said here, since there was no real personal intention or agenda compelling me to sit down and write on this particular theme this evening. I simply realized that it had been awhile since I’d worked on “Proverbially Speaking”, and Chapter 23 was up next. Verses 4 and 5 beckoned. And so I decided to cross reference them.
Now, here is the wealth to be sought! Not in terms of the world, but in terms of everlasting treasure in heaven… A theme repeated often. Twice today, in fact, brought personally to my attention. One of those “verily, verily” moments with Jesus? One “verily” this morning, one “verily” this evening. There are no coincidences.
“But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” (1 Timothy 6:8-10)
Yet would the TV preacher hucksters find themselves without an audience if they did not preach “get rich with God”? Would the churches of me, myself, and I have to close their doors if they taught crucifixion of self in Christ Jesus, per His message?
Both Old and New Testaments practically scream at us to repent of our upside down priorities. Is it mere coincidence that the wisest king of them all, Solomon, muses about his accomplishments, “Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 2:11)
Donald Trump would look beggarly by comparison to King Solomon! This man went after it all; he grabbed for all the gusto – accomplishing everything he set himself to do… which seems a bit curious, since in the beginning he had sought from God only wisdom to wisely manage his people and responsibilities, but not riches… And at the end of the day, it was all vanity, or futility.