I used to think riches were material possessions


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Without you I am nothing.

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I knew someone whose daily prayer was of thanks.  For the routine stuff.  For the stuff of daily living.  It was a prayer of praise.  For a God of everything.  And without God this person was nothing.  It was a prayer offered daily for a lifetime.  And then it wasn’t.  And then there was nothing.  Without this “prayer of everything” there IS nothing.

It makes me sad.

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Then this morning I read this: “I urge you to ask God to purge from your heart the vestiges of fear that produce feelings of insignificance and unworthiness.”   Sacred Space: Something to think and pray about this week

The all or nothing approach again: “Without you God I can do nothing.”

The same approach I was brought up with, that I hear today from Christians.  An approach I reject for something much more loving.

That “without You” I am a cool dude … an impressive and independent mover and shaker … one who can move mountains … one who has moved mountains … one who sees mountains and thinks, “That would make a great sunset!”  But together … both of us together … wow!

I call this living without fear.

Which is why I have come to think this daily “thanks and praise” is of superstitious fear.  That unless I keep saying thank you “bad things” will happen.  And because I am nothing without God, bad things can (and do) happen overnight.  And then I am nothing:

“Stop saying thank you and I am nothing the very next morning.”

I have seen it happen that quickly.   Duress can drive you to God, and duress can drive you away.  That is not love.  That is not a good way to live.  Nothing should be “all or nothing” – not every day of your life.  The gap between the two is too fragile.  And I don’t think God Soft Hands Jesus EVER wanted me to live that way because living that way isn’t loving.

“Then Jesus said to his disciples,  ‘Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven.  Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’  When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astounded and said, ‘Then who can be saved?’  But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.’  Then Peter said in reply, ‘Look, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?’  Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.  And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life.  But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”   Matthew 19:23-30

The rich get a bad press.

The rich are held-up as Pharisees by another name, whilst the “sell everything and give it all away” are held up as saints.   And I am not a saint.

I love my family and wouldn’t choose to give them insecurity because I believed I was nothing unless I did that for God.  And my God has never asked that of me so far.  And I don’t believe he asks that of many.  Only because living that way is so often living the “rich life” – “God will provide” may be a truth, but me testing God every day to deliver … ?  “Get thee behind me … “ springs to mind.

I used to think riches were material possessions.  Now I don’t.

Now I think there is as much riches in “Without you I am nothing” as there is a bank full of cash.  They are the same.  Both are my belief that I am more important than those around me – my “neighbours”.  And if I tell myself that “without you I am nothing” – isn’t that telling God I am more important than He is – that He MUST keep me going or I will stop believing?  And then …

“The greatest of these … “ springs to mind.

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Because I see THIS throughout the bible …

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“Separately you and me are great, but together without any fear …

WOWSERS!!”

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2 thoughts on “I used to think riches were material possessions

    • Andrew I was brought up with that superstition. I look at my own children and think if they only ever looked at my toenails in adoration, and proclaimed that without me they would be nothing … I would think I was bad father! That I had done something massively wrong.

      Some of best “dad” memories are of them doing nothing, saying nothing, just being “nothing and everything” all at the same time – and all without them realising it (or that i was watching with such great love).

      Like

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