Two meditations by Rick Warren from his Daily Hope online devotional at: http://www.pastorrick.com
“God Designed Us for More Than This Earth”
“We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV).
God created us to live in heaven with him for eternity. Heaven is our home, not Earth. That’s why we sometimes experience discontentment and dissatisfaction in life. We’re not completely happy here because we’re not supposed to be! Otherwise, we might think we can live without God. He created us to long for something much better — a home is heaven with him.
A fish would never be happy living on land, because it was made for water. An eagle could never feel satisfied if it wasn’t allowed to fly. You will never feel completely satisfied on Earth, because you were made for more. You will have happy moments here, but nothing compared with what God has planned for you.
This is also why some of God’s promises seem unfulfilled, some prayers seem unanswered, and some circumstances seem unfair. But this is not the end of the story. Realizing that life on Earth is just temporary should radically alter your values. Eternal values, not temporal ones, should be the deciding factor for your decisions. As C. S. Lewis observed, “All that is not eternal is eternally useless.” The Bible tells us to “fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV)
“Here is What You Should Spend Your Money On”
“Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your earthly possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home” (Luke 16:9 NLT).
The best use of your money is using it to get people into Heaven. Luke 16:9 is a problem verse that most people don’t understand. Jesus says, “Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your earthly possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home” (NLT). Jesus is saying that just like the shrewd manager who made friends he could count on later, you need to use some of your money to make eternal friends that you will have forever in Heaven and who will welcome you when you get there.
He’s not saying you can buy your way into Heaven, because you can’t. Jesus has already paid the price on the cross. He’s not saying you can purchase your salvation, because you can’t. Salvation is a free gift by grace. Jesus is telling you to use your money to build friendships that are going to go on and on for eternity. When you use your money to help other people meet Jesus, you make friends for eternity and you gain rewards for eternity.
One day you’re going to die. Imagine that when you get to Heaven, there are a hundred people standing at the entrance, clapping and cheering and saying, “We’ve been waiting for you! We’re here because you spent some money to tell us the Good News. We’re your friends for life — no, eternity, because we’re in debt to you. If you hadn’t used your money that way, we wouldn’t have heard how to get to Heaven.”
Are you using any of your money for that kind of thing? Is anybody going to be in Heaven because of you, because of the way you used your money? When you buy a Bible and you give it to somebody who doesn’t have one, you’ve stored up treasure in Heaven. When you support a program that shares the Good News around the world, you have stored up treasure in Heaven. When you help build a church, you have stored up treasure in Heaven. That is the highest and best use of your money.
You can’t take it with you, but you can send it on ahead by investing in people who are going to Heaven.
And one by John Piper at: http://www.desiringgod.org
“The Purpose of Prosperity”
Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. (Ephesians 4:28)
There are three levels of how to live with things: (1) you can steal to get; (2) or you can work to get; (3) or you can work to get in order to give.
Too many professing Christians live on level two. Almost all the forces of our culture urge them to live on level two. But the Bible pushes us relentlessly to level three. “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).
Why does God bless us with abundance? So we can have enough to live on, and then use the rest for all manner of good works that alleviate spiritual and physical misery. Enough for us; abundance for others.
The issue is not how much a person makes. Big industry and big salaries are a fact of our times, and they are not necessarily evil. The evil is in being deceived into thinking a six-digit salary must be accompanied by a six-digit lifestyle.
O Lord, who hast warned us that thou wilt require much of those to whom much is given; and who in thy infinite love hast entrusted to us both the knowledge of thy truth and the gifts of thy bounty: Help us to use them as good stewards, giving liberally and working diligently, that we may share in bringing all people to thy truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
—Lutheran Service Book and Hymnal, 1958, #75, (adapted)