Thursday, June 14, 2012

True Treasure

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; Matthew 6:19–20 (NASB95)

Bill Borden grew up in Chicago and was heir to a fortune earned through real estate and the sale of Borden’s Condensed Milk. When he was a young boy his mother became a Christian and began taking Bill with her to Moody Church of Chicago. As a young man he excelled academically and athletically and was rewarded for his efforts by his father with a trip around the world. While sailing, Bill met a group of missionaries who were on their way to the Asian mission field. It was at this point that God began to tug on Bill’s heart and while in England, he dedicated his life to Christ. When he returned to America he enrolled at Yale University and traveled with other students to a Christian student convention in Nashville, Tennessee. It was there that God called him to the mission field. He heard many missionaries speak that week and one of them was Samuel Zweme who made a moving appeal for Muslim evangelization. Bill went back to Yale with a burden on his heart for taking the Gospel to Muslims. However, as Bill continued his undergraduate studies before going on to seminary at Princeton, he began noticing a mission field right there in New Haven. So he purchased a downtown building, hired a director and opened New Haven’s first rescue mission. There he was, a handsome, young, wealthy college sophomore who attended classes by day and spent his evenings witnessing to broken men by night. Bill went on to complete seminary at Princeton University and immediately embarked on his first missionary journey. One friend observed, “’No one would have known from Borden’s life and talk that he was a millionaire; but no one could not have helped knowing that he was a Christian and alive for missions.’” Soon Bill would arrive in Egypt to begin the language study that would help him prepare for ministry to Muslims. However, not long into his stay in Cairo he became ill with meningitis and died. When his will was opened, it was revealed he had bequeathed a significant portion of his fortune to missionary causes.

Those who die with the most toys still die – sometimes forever.
Here in America, especially in the middle class, we are so often deceived by an innate drive to accumulate wealth. And there is grave danger in allowing the accumulation of wealth to give you a false sense of security. You see, some people would have you believe that material possessions and even financial plans for our futures are an accurate accounting of spiritual health. To be sure all good gifts come from God, but wealth and possessions are worldly. Period. End of story. There is a bumper sticker that I remember was pretty common a few years back. You would most often find in on the trailer of a really nice ski boat, or maybe a shiny new truck loaded down with dirt bikes. But the bumper sticker said this, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” What a perfect picture of American consumerism. But it’s wrong – it’s dead wrong. (Pun intended.) I really want to see a bumper sticker someday that says “He who dies with the most toys still dies.” That’s because the truly sad fact is that some of those folks are going to die and never live again. And that’s why it’s so important for you to grasp what Jesus is saying here. He is telling us that years from now that brand new BMW of yours is going to go the way of the American Motors Pacer. After you’ve been gone for a hundred years it’s going to be eaten by rust just like your Vera Wang dress is going to be consumed by time and moths. Therefore, we have to start wrapping our minds around the idea that what we do on this planet matters. It matters when you go blow a wad of cash on the latest video game console for your children when you could be showing them the value of giving to the afflicted and the poor. It matters when you sit in front of the television for hours on end when you could be telling someone about Jesus. Is it wrong to have nice things? No it is not. It is wrong to enjoy leisure time and play games and have fun? No it is not. But your first concern must always be doing the will of the father.

Scripture to Claim
33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33 (NIV)

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