Trading Beads and Doing Pretty Good
According to Wikipedia, from the 16th to the 20th century (yes, last century) glass beads were used as a currency. Wealthy individuals who those with storehouses filled with glass beads.
To most of us, we recognize that glass is made from sand and understand that there is no shortage of sand. We find it ridiculous that people worked, fought, stole, and exerted power over each other for a bunch of glass beads. Other than for their historical value, you would be hard pressed to pay for anything today with a handful of glass beads.
And, yet, today we find ourselves in the same situation over pieces of paper, plastic and less, numbers stored electronically on magnetic disks. If we have lots of these pieces of paper, or lots of numbers in the electronic storage, we believe we are rich.
But, in the same way that the accumulation of beads is without value today, the things we consider wealth do no transfer into the new economy of heaven.
I read a story once (I can’t find the source, but if anyone knows, please comment). It described two men who temporarily left their homes to go work in a foreign country. They both rented apartments. They both took care of their basic needs of food and clothing and entertainment with the money they earned. One man, however, spent lavishly on remodeling of the apartment he was renting. New carpets, knocked out walls, put in new windows, drapes, paint, etc. The second man lived modestly, but comfortably, and sent as much money as he could back home. At the end of their engagement, both men left the foreign land and returned back home.
The moral of the story is that this life on this earth is not our home. This is a temporary apartment. We have a permanent home in heaven. What fools we are to have the proceeds of our work go to anything on this side, instead of having the entire focus of our work go to investments which can be sent ahead back to our real home.
But we don’t think. We, like the Laodiceans, focus on our own comfort and we start to believe that we are self-sufficient and can take care of ourselves. The convicting arrow God sent to my heart on this was when I was asked for a prayer request for myself that my leader could pray for me. My initial response was, I’m doing pretty good and don’t really need anything right now to pray for. And then the arrogance of that luke-warm answer pierced me. Is God’s calling for me to “do pretty good’? Is my view of God someone that I turn to in prayer after I fail on my own, instead of with Him first and foremost?
Words of the Amen – the one with the ability to “make it be”
They were lukewarm
They said they were rich, wealthy, not in need = they were wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, naked
They confused earthly possessions with eternal possessions. It doesn’t transfer, but heavenly riches can be accumulated in heaven now (the earth is just rental property)
When they lack compassion. When they start to believe they have “earned it” and/or “deserve it”. When God is not first and last in their day and their lives