Thursday, March 15, 2012

No inheritance, No possessions

How much is enough? Have you ever thought about that question? How much is enough? Would another $10,000 a year be all you need? Would having a retirement fund with $1,000,000 be enough? Would a 3 bedroom, 3 bath home on 5 acres of land finally make you happy? This question was asked of John D. Rockefeller and his answer was "just a little bit more." John D. Rockefeller was the Bill Gates of the early 1900's. His net worth when he died in 1937 was $1.4 billion. In today's dollars that would be approximately $160 billion. So where am I going with all of this talk about money and how much is enough? This morning as I was reading I came across a passage in the book of Numbers that made me stop and think about how I would react if God said the following to me.

Numbers 18: 20 The LORD said to Aaron, “You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have any share among them; I am your share and your inheritance among the Israelites.

Now Aaron was the high priest in the temple. The Lord took care of him by making other provisions. He was given food, clothing and shelter. But from the verse above he did not get a 401K plan, he did not get a 3 bedroom, 3 bath home overlooking the Sea of Galilee. His inheritance was the Lord. My question to you and to me is - Is that enough? If you are a Believer and God said to you that you would loose everything next week, your job, your home, your retirement and maybe even your family but you would never lose him. You would one day spend eternity with him and enjoy his fellowship forever. Would you be ok with that, would you say "go ahead Lord, all I want and all I need is you." To be honest, I think I would have a very difficult time with that.

My hero of the Bible is Paul. He lived the kind of life I wish I could live. Some of you are saying "what's keeping you from living that kind of life?" We will have to talk about that later. Stay focused! I believe Paul died with almost nothing as far as worldly possessions go. If you read his second letter to Timothy you will discover that this was, as far as we know, his last letter. Most scholars believe Paul was killed shortly after writing this letter. Look at what he says at the end of the letter:

II Timothy 4: 9-13 - 9 Do your best to come to me quickly, 10 for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry. 12 I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. 13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.

Paul is writing from prison. He was, next to Christ, the greatest champion for the Gospel the world has ever known. He was a missionary, a church planter, a leader, an author, a disciple maker and so much more. However, at the end of his life all he had to show for it was a battered body and a few simple possessions. He asked for his cloak his scrolls and his parchments. In other words he had a jacket, a Bible and a journal. As far as we know that is all he accumulated in over 30 years of ministry. Over a 30 year career he never accumulated a home, a retirement account, a health insurance plan nor a social security payment. Yet he never complained, he never wished for more material stuff. He was content with what he had.

I believe Paul was content because he knew that the inheritance God had in store for him was far more valuable that anything we could accumulate on this side of eternity. Paul did not need a Last Will and Testament, he did not need a law firm to sort out how his estate would be divided up. When Paul moved from this side of eternity to the other he inherited something far more valuable than anything we could inherit in this life.

If God asked you to give it all up, to lose everything except your relationship with him, would you do it?

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