Category Archives: Wealth

Lessons from Unanswered Questions

Standard


“…As you know we consider blessed those who have persevered.

You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen

What the Lord finally brought about.”

James 5: 10, 11 (NIV 2005)

We live in an age of “instant” everything. With microwaves and drive-through windows, we can place a meal on our tables within minutes. Cable news networks and satellites allow us to view up-to-the-minute reports on stories happening around the world. Laptops and smartphones allow us to have the internet at our fingertips almost anywhere we travel, so the answers to most questions can be found with a quick query of our favorite search engine. GPS devices allow us to find directions instantaneously. Emails and Texts allow us send messages instantly. Weather conditions can be determined by a quick search of a “Weather Radar Ap.” Medicine provides prompt relief to pain, indigestion, cold symptoms, fever, sleeplessness, etc… Even common medical problems can sometimes be “diagnosed” quickly by entering symptoms into web based medical sites.

Because of all these technetronic advances, we have become conditioned to receiving almost anything we need in an instant. As a result, we have also lost the ability to wait. Above all else, we expect an immediate cure or solution for anything that causes us pain or discomfort ~ from toothaches to heartbreaks and everything in between. However, there are some things in life that don’t have instant answers. Despite all the tremendous advances in science, technology and medicine, we still live in a world where many people suffer.

Job was a wealthy landowner and successful businessman who had a wonderful family and home. He was a man of faith and was known for his generosity and care for others. The Bible describes him as “blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” He was living a very happy and fulfilling life when tragedy struck. In an instant, his ten children were swept away by a windstorm, in an instant his land, crops, livestock and servants were destroyed by raiding bandits and a lightning storm, and in an instant he lost everything he had through no fault of his own. To make matters even worse, Job was struck with painful sores all over his body.

Job experienced both extreme physical pain and gut-wrenching grief over the loss of his family and possessions. He was at a crossroads in his walk of faith. He could blame God, curse Him and give up, or he could choose to trust God for strength to carry on. Job was forced to return to the basics of his faith in God. Throughout his story a common theme emerges: Job acknowledged the sovereign authority of God, but he wanted to understand the why behind his suffering. For a period of time, he allowed his desire to understand why he was suffering to overwhelm him and make him question God. 

Job didn’t expect an instant cure for his pain and suffering, but he did become frustrated over not knowing why he was suffering, expecially when he was sure he had done nothing to deserve this sort of punishment.  He wanted to know the answer to the age-old question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”  Even though God didn’t answer his question instantly, Job did perservere in his faith.  When God, who knows everything, finally spoke to Job, He did not provide him with the answer.  Instead He pointed out an important lesson:  It is better to know our Heavenly Father than to know the answers to all our questions.

 

Sometimes suffering is shaping us for service to others. Often we face consequences of bad decisions, and we suffer through correction or discipline. And, yes, there are times when we won’t know why we are suffering.  We may never know why bad things happen to good people or why innocent children have to suffer, but no matter what the reason for our pain, instead of getting caught up in wanting an instant answer to the question of “why” we are suffering, we should respond by digging our roots deeper into God. By doing so, we can weather any type of storm we may face. God is not caught off guard by any of our problems, and He can help us withstand any trial we face in life.

 Trust in God and not in your circumstances and remember the important lesson from Job’s life:  Knowing God is superior to knowing all the answers.

 

Riches of the Heart

Standard


 


“…though your riches increase,
   do not set your heart on them.”

Psalm 62:10 NIV 2010

In times of prosperity, it is easy to fall into the trap of “trusting” in your wealth. You build up “security” by purchasing financial assets such as stocks and bonds. You invest in real estate thinking that it will never lose value. You feel that your future is “secure” because you have a large savings account and a diversified financial portfolio.

The “Great Recession” has proven to many that no matter how much you have stored away for the future, that wealth can be erased over night. Some investors had the sad misfortune of believing that their retirement fund was solid and golden, but found out instead that their hard-earned money was wrapped up in an unprecedented financial scam which left untold numbers with nothing but worthless paper certificates.

“The wealth of the rich is their fortified city;

They imagine it an unscalable wall.”

Proverbs 17:11 NIV 2010

While it is wise to save for the future, we must never place our faith in our riches. God is the only sure thing, and He is the One in whom we should trust completely concerning our future. For the rich who imagine that their wealth is their strongest defense, they are sadly mistaken. Too many things can occur which erode away at their assets. The stock market can crash, inflation can rob money of its value, ruthless thieves may steal it, real estate values can plummet, or a health crisis can drain your bank account of all its reserves.

Where do you look for your safety and security? In what or in whom do you place your trust for the future? What would happen if you lost everything you had worked for in your life? God is the only sure thing. He never loses His power, and He is the only firm foundation upon which you can confidently build toward your future. Better than any “tax shelter,” He will shelter us from any type of storm that life can bring. He is always dependable. “Investing” your time, talent, energy and resources in God’s kingdom provides eternal rewards.

Everything we do should have the focus of fulfilling God’s purposes, even when it comes to our finances and wealth accumulation. Seek your Heavenly Father for wisdom and guidance in this area of your life. Place your trust and faith in Him for a secure future with eternal “dividends.”

“Don’t store up treasures here on earth,

Where moths eat them and rust destroys them,

And where thieves break in and steal.

Store your treasures in heaven,

Where moths and rust cannot destroy,

And thieves do not break in and steal.

Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. ”

Matthew 6:19 – 21 (NLT)