“And I saw that all labor and all achievement spring from man’s envy of his neighbor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. The good folds his hands and ruins himself. Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toll and chasing after the wind.” (Ecclesiastes4:4-6)
Living modestly is better than “chasing after the wind” of wealth. Labor should be done to meet God’s goals for our lives not to meet the standard set by our neighbor.
Christ said that life does not consist of things, no matter how abundant. Real living is in giving and serving, not in getting and indulging. Inner peace and tranquility, not personal wealth and prestige, mark true success.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, this speaks to what stewardship is, a life-style, whereby we find our joy in serving and giving to others. Envy of neighbor or any of their “things” will not bring you happiness and joy. However, we find true happiness and joy by giving of ourselves to help our neighbors, to help them through our service, that they might see our relationship with Jesus by serving others. When we don’t even have to think about helping our neighbors, then we have achieved a lasting lifestyle change that is a result of what Jesus has done for us. Then, our neighbors will see Jesus, working through us to help others and they are affecting, as well. In Jesus’ name pray. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“God loves us not because of who we are, but because of who He is.”
“In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. For even when we were wit you, we gave you this rule: ‘If a man will not work, he shall not eat.’ We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat. And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.” (2nd Thessalonians 3:6–13)
Work is honorable and necessary. Honest industry serves both human needs and the ministries of Christ Jesus. Work is not a punishment for our sin. Sin does cause labor to be toilsome, often a struggle against circumstances (Genesis3). Labor is an essential part of our role as caretaker of God’s world. To work is to be a steward of God’s miraculous world. It is the very least we can do, and yet, it has become one of the least things we do! As caretakers, we have taken this job less seriously, and our world has suffered for our lack of care for it.
“A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished. To show partiality is not good—-yet a man will do wrong for a piece of bread. A stingy man is eager to get rich and is unaware that poverty awaits him.” (Proverbs 28:20-22)
God’s people do not set their sights on material prosperity. God’s people seek to be faithful to Him, to be fair and just with other people, and to help others. These attitudes lead to God’s blessings. Selfish commitment to wealth leads to eventual ruin.
Second Thought of the Day:
The father of lies will use the same approach on us as he did with Jesus. The creation is God’s not the devil’s. Part of our worship of God should include our gratitude for the creation and God’s continual care of it. Gaining the world and all its wealth is not a goal for Christians. It never has been and never will be. So, what is your goal?
“Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘If you will bow down and worship me.’” (Matthew 4:8–9)
Material possessions can be used for good or evil. Satan tempted Jesus to become the Messiah of a temporal or material kingdom instead of a spiritual one. The devil seeks to deceive Christ’s followers. A Christian who follows Satan’s methods sins again God.