Cover of The Cost of Discipleship
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where they will never become moth-eaten or rusty and where they will be safe from thieves. 21Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be.
22 “Your eye is a lamp for your body. A pure eye lets sunshine into your soul. 23But an evil eye shuts out the light and plunges you into darkness. If the light you think you have is really darkness, how deep that darkness will be!
24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Storing treasures in heaven is not limited to tithing but is accomplished by all acts of obedience to God. There is a sense in which giving our money to God’s work is like investing in heaven. But I should seek to please God not only in my giving but also in fulfilling God’s purposes in all I do.
Spiritual vision is our capacity to see clearly what God wants us to do and to see the world from his point of view. But this spiritual insight can be easily clouded. Self-serving desires, interests, and goals block that vision. Serving God is the best way to restore it. A “pure” eye is one that is fixed on God.
Jesus says we can have only one master. We live in a materialistic society where many people serve money. They spend all their lives collecting and storing it, only to die and leave it behind. Their desire for money and what it can buy far outweighs their commitment to God and spiritual matters. Whatever I store up, I will spend much of my time and energy thinking about. I should not fall into the materialistic trap, because “the love of money is at the root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). Can I honestly say that God, and not money, is your master? Yes! One test is to ask myself which one occupies more of my thoughts, time, and efforts.
Jesus contrasted heavenly values with earthly values when he explained that our first loyalty should be to those things that do not fade, cannot be stolen or used up, and never wear out. I should not be fascinated with my possessions, lest they possess me. This means I may have to do some cutting back if my possessions are becoming too important to me. Jesus is calling for a decision that allows me to live contentedly with whatever I have because I have chosen what is eternal and lasting.
If I ever achieved an alert and active concentration on His spiritual work within my soul. It would then not matter at all what I did in eating or drinking, in sleeping or in speaking, or in any of my outward activities. And certainly I can tell you that I would much rather attain freedom in these things in this way, by not needing to be concerned about them, than by concentrating a great deal of attention on them.
- From The Cloud of Unknowing translated by Ira Progoff
Earthly goods are given to be used, not to be collected. In the wilderness God gave Israel the manna every day and they had no need to worry about food and deink. Indeed, if they kept any of the manna over until the next day, it went bad. In the same way the disciple must receive his portion from God every day. If he stores it up as a permanent possession, he spoils not only the gift, but himself as well, for he sets his heart on his accumulated wealth, and make it a barrier between himself and God. Where our treasure is, there is our trust, our security, our consolation and our God. Hoarding is idolatry.
But where are we to draw the line between legitimate use and lawful accumulation? Let us reverse the word of Jesus and our question is answered: “Where thy heart is, there shall thy treasure be also.” Our treasure may of course be small and inconspicuous, but the size is immaterial; it all depends on the heart, on ourselves. And if we ask how we are to know where our hearts are, the answer is just as simple – everything which hinders us from loving God above all things and acts as a barrier between ourselves and our obedience to Jesus is our treasure, and the place where our heart is.
Why do we need to place God at the top of our priority list?
Meet the Person in Charge
· He is a Spirit – He Exist – He is In control – What helps you realize there is a God? ____________________________________________________
· He wants to share love with us – and receive glory from us – He wants us to be a active loving member of His family.
· He creates other spirits to share love/glory with Him. – Angels were created to be messengers and helpmates of the spirits – But they could make no decisions about Love; except to reject obedience to the spirits – When they reject that obedience, they were sent out of the fellowship of spirits that obeyed and loved God and as a result were called devils, etc.
· Love requires a decision (To love (put the other person’s needs and desires as a priority) or not) – Like in marriage.
1. God created the heavens and the earth as a training ground to make that decision – like a school.
2. God created all things good, including humans – with the ability to decide to praise God/We are born with an ego (the desire to want what we want, when we want it and how we want it) – But He wants us to choose to be a member of His family.
3. God gave limited control to humans – including to put our ego first or release of control to God-You can see this in a baby/But as we gain in maturity we learn that we need others..
The “His majesty the baby” wants it his way. He wants what he wants, when he wants it, and how he wants it. The baby wants to be in control of all that has to do with his life, and he proves his very existence through this control. Totally ignore a infant, and see what results. Many over- crowded, orphanages will prove the result of shutdown. This need to be in control is a very basic point for existence in life.
4. God claims ownership and control of all he has created- including the environment.
5. Humanity, too, is owned by God .
7. Humankind is created in two worlds (Spiritual(Soul/spirit)) – Physical (like a school uniform)-body.
His Divine Intensions
The earth and humankind was created to function in within the framework of Love. Love is being more concerned with the other person happiness over your own.
· Love with God
· Love from God
· Love of others
· Love of Nature
This sharing of Love is contingent upon obedience to God – such as monogamy/sexual involvement
God wanted shared love and obedience, mankind said we will follow our ego (no obedience, because we are in control, not you). Discontented and unsatisfied with the limited control, demanded by God, humanity is in revolt against God.
Disobedience and revolt leads humans in separation, disharmony, and estrangement from God. This disharmony spreads to others, nature and ourselves. It gives us a sense of guilt. God gave us a new promise. Jesus Christ to help us live within his training plan to help us make the Decision: To love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength AND turn over control of our life to Him; OR let our ego (think we are in control ourselves) loving myself more than others.
Our so called human experts have looked into this. They have found that those who have a strong “kingship” attitude feel: unstable, tense, nervous, afraid, guilty, ashamed, pushed, incapable, uncertain, unworthy, and dismayed. Those who have been able to change to a submission attitude feel that they are at peace, safe, composed, relaxed, contented, thankful, cleansed, sane, and receptive.
God formed a Training Plan to help us make that decision.
· We are trained by the challenges we face; which show us that we cannot control our life. When we are broken; we then are able to turn over control of our lives to him. Parents help children see that others need to be in control through LOVE and Discipline.
· Why God’s control? Justice must prevail, based on his moral law.
· Judgment on how we do, takes place beyond the grave AND in the time in which we live.
· God’s love requires that his justice be the same for all.
We need to place God at the top of our priority to accomplish these things.