“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 fool folds his hands and ruins himself. Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind. Again I saw something meaningless under the sun: There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. ‘For whom am I toiling,’ he asked, ‘and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?’ This too is meaningless—-a miserable business!” (Ecclesiastes 4:4-8)
Envy’s appetite will never be satisfied. It provides proper motive for no undertaking. 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 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, we know that envy comes from Satan and not from You, for it breeds discontent with what we have or don’t have. It takes our focus off of our service to You and this will never bring us joy, only disappointment Guide with by Your Spirit back to the pathway that leads to serving You alone, and not looking at what others might have. When we committed ourselves to you, it was not for some amount of time; rather, it was intended to be a lifestyle change that honors You, and that our focus would remain on serving You for the rest of our lives. This we pray. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“A faith that ‘Fizzles’ before the Finish Line, had a Flaw before the First.”
“I will shake all nations, and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord Almighty. The silver is mine and the gold is mine, declares the Lord Almighty. The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace, declares the Lord Almighty.” (Haggai 2:7-9)
Glory may refer to material elegance, personal reputation, or Spiritual presence. All are included here. Only God has and can create true glory. He has the power to bring material and spiritual glory to His house of worship. He can use forces of nature and of history to accomplish His purposes. We may proudly and total up our material possessions, but none belong to us. God is sovereign Lord over all His creation’s wealth. True wealth comes only when God grants peace. The strange paradox is that one would put faith in the created matter (gold and silver) rather than the Creator of this matter.
“For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of he circumcision group. They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—-and that for the sake of dishonest gain.” (Titus 1:10-11)
Some of the slickest hucksters in the world are those who prey on unsuspecting people by means of a religious message for a price. Such practices call us to remember the gospel is free. Truth remains the same no matter the price offered y adherents of false doctrine. If someone tells you that if you give a certain amount of money to them, you will be healed, hold onto your wallet and run the opposite direction; if someone says you will get a new job if you will only give in abundance, you are purchasing that which is already a free gift to you. There are a multitude of scams beloved, read your Bible for understanding and you will find that God will give you direction if you will only ask Him to clarify to you what it is that you are struggling to understand. God has given us the Bible for our help, and understanding.
SECOND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.” (Revelation 3:17-18)
Wealth is deceiving. We may not have what we think we possess. God is the only source of true wealth. The church in Laodicea is in big trouble, for it doesn’t even realize it is in trouble. This church is almost dead. There is barely a heart beat. The Apostle John is writing from Patmos and he is in custody, but the Holy Spirit showed him just how desperate a situation this church was truly in. There was no one helping the poor, the destitute, the naked, the homeless, and so on. Their worship was certainly taking place, but the body of the church (its people) were merely going through the motions only and the obvious illness around the church is being ignored. Do you know a church like this? Is your church this way? Do the people of the church after worship go home and live lives ignoring those things that are going on in their own community? Believe it or not, this has become more common place that you might think. People may donate to help the poor or hungry or naked, etc., but are not willing to participate in the helping of these people. There is no quicker way to kill a church, than to ignore the needs of the community and then do nothing to help alleviate the suffering.
People want to be part of an active church in community services. Some say the current generation doesn’t want to church of their fathers and mothers, yet if you gain their interest through regular service projects, and allow them the opportunity to become leaders of the projects. Give them latitude to try new ways to help others, and you find them to be active in the church. You may have to make some changes for worship, but if you ask them what they want, if may not be much different than what you want. Make a difference in your church, in your own lives, in your community and find out just how God will make a difference in you!