Sunday, 1 April 2018

The Abundant Life is Not the Materially Comfortable Life, But Life full of True Worship in Spirit and in Truth

And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth (Luke 12:15).

Many people in the modern professing Church think that having an abundant life means to work hard for one's job or career, get married and have children, buy a house, buy a car, earn as much income as one can, take as many holidays as one can, and be an influential well-respected member of society and one's circles.  

They think that this all shows how "blessed" they are, that it is a sign of God's favour to them because of their righteousness and holiness. They are smug behind all their material comfort and think that those who have less than them, or who lack something they have, or are suffering are less holy and righteous than them, all without realising it. They think they are more worthy in God's eyes than those who have less than them, or who lack something they have, out of their pride, and smug arrogance.

Jesus made it very clear that such material riches are empty, not simply because that they will be gone one day, but because they have no eternal value whatsoever. They are in and of themselves emptiness, in and of themselves vapour. In Luke 12:16, Jesus said, "Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth".

Many in the modern Church are like the rich man in the Parable which Jesus told, who wanted to tear down his barns to build them bigger.  

And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:

 
And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?

And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.

And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.

But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?

So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

(Luke 12:16-21)

The rich man in the Parable of the Rich Man wanted to accumulate wealth, and simply live a life of comfort and security. He wanted to "take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry" (Luke 12:19). Despite what many churches and church or ministry leaders teach, this mindset of wanting to accumulate wealth to live a comfort life is absolutely and totally diametrically opposed to what Jesus taught.

God did not call him a fool because did not get involved in ministry, did not marry and have children, or because he took drugs, or was sexually immoral. He called him a fool because he wanted to accumulate wealth for his own, and probably his family's comfort. 

Jesus in addressing the Jews would have describe the typical respectable Jewish man of old age. He would have been well-respected by many of us because he had money, and probably had a family with many children, as was the Jewish cultural norm. Despite having these things, including a family, God said he was a fool.

Family is not an excuse to accumulate wealth and comfort on earth. Providing for family is one thing, but seeking earthly material comfort and security for anyone, be it oneself or one's loved ones, is another. 

The truly abundant life is one full of  true worship of God, one that worship in Spirit and in Truth: "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). 

It is not a life of earthly material comfort, including even the most basic earthly comfort. 

Nor is it a life of strong marriage and family which so many American evangelical idolise, that is the truly abundant life. Indeed, Jesus said "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:26).

It is the life of worship of the true Living God, in seeking first His Kingdom, and abandoning all for Christ, that is truly abundant.

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me (Matthew 16:24).