What About All Of This Stuff?
by Candace House
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Every time you look at Jesus, you realize that His values are just totally different from ours. We can't adopt the world's values and live comfortably in God's Kingdom. It's just not possible.
Our culture really values stuff. And the more stuff we have the happier we are. We don't even think about it. It just is. Oprah had someone on her show that filled up their house with so much stuff, that they had to live in a trailer. That's a pretty extreme example, but isn't it true that you have so much stuff you don't know where to put it all? We've got attics, garages and basements and self-storage units full of stuff we've accumulated. We don't even know what to do with it all. This world really values stuff.
In the process of moving into our new house a year ago, we threw away so much stuff!!! There were boxes that were in the attic and garage that we hadn’t opened in years. Being professional movers, compliments of the military, my husband is known as the Salvation Army king. Anything you wanted to hang on to, had better been kept close to your person. He gave away his mothers brand new London Fog coat!! She left it when visiting the winter before. We were in the process of moving and he cleaned out everything in our spare closet. His reasoning was he never saw anyone wear it, so off to the Salvation Army it went. Now we are in the process of packing up and making the final move to South Carolina. There are still boxes that have not been open. I guess we didn’t need them either.
Here in North America, it's common to have two or more cars in a family, and a lot of them are pretty nice. We on the other hand, have 5 cars. Two cars belong to our sons, and we have three. My husband works 50 miles outside of town, therefore the need of a spare car. Again I say, we value our stuff. Everyone has cell phones and computers, and there is a TV in every room.
Anthony, my husband, would say to me “Explain to me, why do we need all of this?” My answer would be “Because, I want to make sure everyone is comfortable.” Now tell me, how dumb is that? I know the real reason, and it isn’t just about making other people comfortable. In a nutshell, it was all about security. Deep down I felt at a disadvantage if I didn’t have the stuff.
Jesus turns all of that upside down. We think the disadvantaged are those who don't have as much stuff. Jesus says, "I'll tell you who's disadvantaged. If you have a lot, you're disadvantaged." He tells us that the poor are blessed. No offense against the rich; they just have more of a hurdle. In Jesus' kingdom, it's the rich who are disadvantaged, and it's the poor who are blessed by God.
Then there's our security. Our culture really values security. I don't know that this is all wrong, but it's pretty important for us to feel self-reliant, that we are providing for ourselves and our future. Anything that threatens that self-reliance makes us feel very unsure.
Jesus however,walks up to people at their place of business and says, "Leave your nets and boats (your livelihoods) behind and follow me." He tells people to liquidate their assets and give to the poor, and don't worry, because God will take care of you. That's a completely different set of values.
I don’t mind the part about giving to the poor. My husband would accuse me of trying to bankrupt the family by giving all of the money away. That’s why I asked God for a lot of money, not just to consume upon myself, but because it seemed I was always running out of money to give.
Another value that we hold fast to is consumerism. After having worked customer service a few years, I used to get riled when not treated right as a customer. Jesus on the other hand says, "If you want to follow me, you've got to forget about your rights. You've got to lay them aside, die to yourself, become a servant, and follow me."
We value power. We like to call the shots and get our way. We like to know powerful people, because it's not what you know, it’s who you know. Then here comes Jesus. The moment that He knew that He could do anything - that all power and authority had been given to Him, and that God had put all things under His control - He showed us what true power looks like in God's kingdom. He got down on His knees and washed the dirty feet of His disciples.
We like beauty. All you have to do is look at television and magazines ads. Jesus came, and the Bible says that there was nothing in the way that he looked - no beauty or majesty - that would attract us to him.
We like strength. I personally love football, boxing, track and field, martial arts, people doing all kind of things that show off their prowess. Yet in Jesus' Kingdom it's the weak who are strong. It's the proud who are humbled. It's the powerful that are excluded and it's the people on the margins who matter. In the Kingdom of Jesus, something as small as a cup of cold water offered to a "nobody" has eternal significance.
We can go a step further and look at our churches. Our world judges churches by these standards - their success, their size, their significance. We look at some of the most powerful and successful churches and we're wowed. We stand in awe of how God has truly blessed. Yet God looks at churches we've overlooked – a store front church, a church in a prison , or a third world country church, that is in a hut, and says, "There's a church that's successful. They're not successful in the world's eyes, but they are in mine."
It is time for us to live Jesus' values in this world. We can make ourselves aware of the ways in which Jesus' values are different, and watch to make sure that we're not incorporating the world's values into our relationship with Him.
It's possible, if we don't watch it, to stop noticing the differences between Jesus' values and this world's. Inch by inch, we can stop being shocked or even aware of the differences. Or, we can stay so in tune with Jesus' values that we never stop knowing that there's a difference.
I think one of the best things that we could do is to become so familiar with Jesus and his values that it just becomes part of the way we think. So much is being taught in the church that has nothing to do with Christ, and everything to do with man. Most Christians don’t really know who Jesus is, because what is being taught is SELF help lessons. The way to remedy that is to read the Gospels. Just read them over and over again. See the way He taught, the words that He said. And take them at face value, to live by.
©2007 Candace House
Her message to the Body of Christ is to “Inhale what God is Exhaling!” for “The Spirit of God has made me and the Breath of the Almighty gives me Life” (Job 33:4 ). She is a Christian TV talk show and radio host, as well as an author for Basic Bible Studies and other Christian publications.
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