May 30, 2012

The Wright Brothers & Testing the World Against The Word

I stumbled across this video just after reading a passage from a book put out by NavPress called Advancing the Gospel by Mike Treneer.  As the author leads readers through the Gospel and the Dangers to the faith presented in Paul’s letter to the Colossians, Treneer shares these thoughts:

It’s very good sometimes to sit with a group of friends and ask, “What are the basic principles of this world? What are the big ideas that shape the society in which we live?  Are they true?”  One of those big ideas, for example, is that you can’t be happy without acquiring more material possessions or increasing your standard of living.  Though the idea is not true, it drives and controls the lives of millions of people.

Or you can turn the questions to our “human traditions.”  What are the ideas that you were brought up believing?  Many of them are good, but some may not be quite so good.  What are the ideas you’re sowing in the minds of young people?  Are they really according to Christ?

These are important things to think about.  Unless we identify these big ideas that dominate our lives and test them carefully with the teaching of Jesus, we will live in prison, boxed in, unable to experience life as God means for us to experience it.

The answer to all these dangers is to come back to Jesus.

The Wright brothers had to challenge the current thinking before they flew.  What does society today tell us about money?  What does your financial plan say about security and wealth?  Does it hold up against the things that Jesus taught or could it be that some of the “worldly wisdom” may actually hold us back from God’s plans for us.

That said, I have been wrestling with a few chapters that seem to get stuck in my head about money and finance and God’s plan for our lives.  I intend to post a passage a week for us to work through together.  I won’t lecture on it or discuss it.  Instead, I’d encourage you as readers to mull it over.  When thoughts from the world enter your head, when traditions from the past take hold, or when an old saying pops into your head, check it against The Word.  If we aren’t aligned with His Word, than we aren’t aligned.

I’d also invite readers to help me name this weekly topic.  Come up with a catchy title for this weekly workout in The Word and you will be the winner.

Let’s get to it.  This week we’ll focus on the last words of Paul’s first letter to Timothy.
1All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered. 2 Those who have believing masters should not show them disrespect just because they are fellow believers. Instead, they should serve them even better because their masters are dear to them as fellow believers and are devoted to the welfare of their slaves.
These are the things you are to teach and insist on. 3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which God will bring about in his own time —God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.
17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
20 Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, 21 which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith.

Grace be with you all.

1 Timothy 6 (NIV)

What does this portion of the Bible say to you about money and possessions?  What do other versions of the Bible say?  How would you restate this in your own words?  Does it agree with the world’s view?  Does it agree with the folks who you look up to in the financial world, the folks you trust? I n pondering your financial status, does this speak to you directly?  Do you need to take any action based on this?

I’d love to hear about your thoughts on this passage.  I’d also love to hear a catchy title to associate with this post as we head back to the word each week.
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