“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” – Mathew 16: 24-25 (NIV).
When Jesus was here on earth he met many interesting people, from all walks of life. These ranged from the Samaritan woman who he found at a well (John 4:1-26); a justice of the supreme court who approached him at night (John 3: 1-21); to a soldier seeking a favor, to have his servant healed (Mathew 8: 5-13).
One day Jesus ran into a tycoon with a pressing need how he could get to heaven (Mark 10: 17-31). The tycoon was apparently a devout man who on most points he and Jesus agreed he was on the right path. However, when Jesus challenged him that he had to sell his property, give the money to the poor, and follow him, the tycoon walked away very sad for he was so attached to his accumulations.
Seeing him, Jesus turned and “said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God! In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” (vv 23-24).
Perhaps you are curious why. The fact here is that, just as back then, there are many rich people who are so attached to their accumulations, that if it were possible, they would rather be buried with all- mansions, fleets of vehicles, jewelry, perhaps even their cows! This is exactly how the Egyptian pharaohs and most traditional kings here lived. They were buried with all their material accumulations, apparently to give them comfort in the next world! For such, their whole identity was tied around their vast accumulations and titles. They could not imagine a life without. In a sense, it was a lonely life, for without those things, there was little else to life.
Yet it is not only rich and mighty affected but any of us can be in that box too. For some of us it could be our honorific titles, academic awards, racial and ethnic identities, and status in society by birth- something we hold on so dearly, that we can’t imagine life without. Well, here Jesus is telling us, that the way to heaven where we shall see even a far greater multiplication of anything we hold on to here desperately, is by surrendering all to him. Hard, isn’t it!
May God help us, for as Jesus said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God” (vv 27).
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I surrender all to you, which is not by my power but because you enable me so, in Jesus’s name I pray!
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“The LORD will send rain at the proper time from his rich treasury in the heavens and will bless all the work you do. You will lend to many nations, but you will never need to borrow from them” – (Deuteronomy 28:2).
Every now and then one chances upon someone despising the importance of being enterprising. To some being enterprising can be equated to the love of money and it’s pitfalls (1 Tim 6:10). Others see it as being overtly worldly. Yet, far from it, being enterprising is clearly an avenue God has given believers to raise resources for their well-being and promotion of the rich Gospel.
The Bible is full of enterprising characters who were used mightily of God. Abraham was apparently a good rancher that he “become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold” (Gen 13:2). Job was hated by Satan who sought to destroy him because “He owned 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 teams of oxen, and 500 female donkeys. He also had many servants. He was, in fact, the richest person in that entire area” (Job 1:3).
The Lord Jesus Christ was born and raised in the house of Joseph, the carpenter (Mathew 13:55). Carpenters do not create works of beauty to donate for free. To prosper they must run sustainable enterprises which pay taxes and make profit. The Apostle Paul would often rely on enterprising people to support him in his ministry. One of his worthy converts “was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God (Acts 16:14).
Though Paul was a law don once he went to the mission field, other than cling to his titles by burdening his hosts he often dabbled in tent making to support himself. In Corinth he teamed up with an amazing couple, Priscilla and Aquila, and “because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them” (Acts 18:3). This couple run a successful tent making business that enabled them support mission work.
And then of course, there is the noble woman of character, as told in Proverbs 31, who “selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings.. She sees that her trading is profitable…She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes (vv 13-25).
When the body of believers is filled with such enterprising people it generates resources important to sustain God’s work. Further, the work of God is then supported without being dependent on sources that might compromise the mission, as sometimes we see! Be enterprising!
Prayer for today: Lord father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, you who has given us the gift of enterprise, today I pray to use this gift to take care of my needs and support the expansion of your kingdom on earth, this I pray in Jesus’ Name.