Are You a Pilgrim or an Earth Dweller?
"These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but . . . were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth." -Hebrews 11:13, emphasis added
When it comes to money, possessions, and eternity, if someone were to assess your life, would they say that more of you is here on earth-or more of you is in heaven? Tertullian (ca.155-230), a lawyer who became a Christian in the early years of the church, once said: "And so it is that when a man walks along a road, the lighter he travels, the happier he is; equally, on this journey of life, a man is more blessed if he does not pant beneath a burden of riches."
As we look through the Scriptures at what the Spirit of God inspired the Old Testament writers to say, what Jesus said, and what the apostles said, realize that I will never give any disclaimers. In other words, I will never tell you: "That is what the Bible says, but it doesn't mean that." If you really look at what the Bible says to Christians about money, it is very uncomfortable. And I hope that you start feeling as uncomfortable as I do because I have studied these words a long time getting ready for this message. It is not my place to make you feel comfortable-it is to share what the Bible says.
Thomas a Kempis (c. 1380-1471), who authored the classic book entitled Imitation of Christ, had this advice: "Let temporal things serve your use, but the eternal be the object of your desire."
J. H. Jowett once said, "The true measure of our wealth is how much we would be worth if we lost all our money."
The great prophet Hosea, who wrote several hundred years before Christ, tells us: "When they had pasture, they were filled . . . and their heart was exalted; Therefore they forgot Me" (Hosea 13:6). Every time our pastures get green and our fields get full, we run the risk of forgetting who made them green, and who filled them. God owns it all! Have you ever given back the title deed of whatever He has entrusted to you?
When I bought my first car as a young man, I purchased it from a white-haired lady about eighty years old. She had this "boat"-an old Caprice that was so big that you could put a couch in the back seat. This lady told me that she wanted to sell her car to me for a good price. I knew she was serious when she pulled out the title and signed it over to me. Many of us have told God that we would like to give Him our life and everything we have, but He knows we are actually serious about such a commitment when we pull out the title deed to our life and say: "All I am, all I have, and all I will ever be-I now sign over to You!"
Have you signed over the title deed of your life to Christ? Prayerfully consider 2 Corinthians 8:5: "They first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God."
Are you rich toward God, or just yourself? The parable in Luke 12:13-21 portrays the futility of wanting more and more possessions. Jesus called the rich man, "Fool!" (v. 20). Prayerfully consider what Jesus said next, "So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God" (v. 21).
Do you live for yourself each day, or for Him? Prayerfully consider 2 Corinthians 5:15: "He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again."
Does God have the proper place in your life? Prayerfully consider Romans 14:12: "Each of us shall give account of himself to God."
If you have signed over the title deed of your life to God, and are rich toward Him by living for Christ every day, and are giving the Lord His proper place in your life, then you are a pilgrim. If you were not able to honestly affirm that you've given your all to Him, then you are most likely living with the attitude of an earth dweller.
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