Dear Friends,

–“The ultimate good in life is to treat things according to their true value.” (Jonathan Edwards) Jesus spoke more about the temporal versus the eternal than any other topic. Why? Because the world, the devil and the flesh are constantly trying to get us to devalue what God says is important, the spiritual and eternal and highly value the material and temporal things of life. "He (Jesus) said to them, "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight." (Luke 16:15) –“The world measures (values, esteems) people by how much they get (possessions, position, prestige, power) but God measures (values) people by how much they give.” (Warren Wiersbe)

As we continue to fix our eyes on Jesus (Heb. 12:2) in order that we may be changed into His likeness (2 Cor. 3:18) we see what He valued — an intimate relationship with His Father (Luke 5:16) people (Luke 15:32) and investing God’s Word/truth (Matt. 5:17-19) into the lives of people. God, His Word, people and Christ-like character are all that will last for eternity. So we too would be wise to follow our Lord’s example by investing our time, energy and resources in the same.

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth (temporal), where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven (eternal), where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal .For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Matt. 6:19-24) Jesus contrasts two treasures (earthly or heavenly), two eyes (good or bad), and two masters (God or money). We can’t store up treasures in two different places so we must choose. We can’t focus our eyes on two different values at the same time (eternal or temporal) so we must choose. Nor can we serve two different masters at the same time for a master demands exclusive loyalty. –“Serve” here refers to the work of a slave, not just an employee, and in a Master—slave relationship the Master owns the slave. God demands total commitment to Him even to the point of –“hating” (in comparison to our love and commitment to Christ) our own family members and our own life. In some cultures, even today, new believers actually have to make that choice. (Luke 14:26) –“Choose for yourselves this day (each day) whom you will serve.” (Joshua 24:15)

 Values run deeper and are far more important than any other single factor, for our values drive our behavior. –“Where your treasure is (values are) there your heart (motivations, behaviors) will also be.” (Matthew 6:21) Yet our actions (investing in the kingdom) in faith and obedience can change our heart and values. What we value are uncompromisable convictions that drive and direct our behavior, motivate us and give us reasons why we do things and why we won’t do other things. If our actions don’t reflect what we say we value, we are only fooling ourselves and in fact, value what is reflected in our behavior. Paul’s highest value was –“I want to know Christ intimately and become like Him” and he considered everything else he had valued in the past or would have to give up in the future as rubbish (–“dung”) compared to this. (Philippians 3:7-10)

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans (unbelievers) run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, (the spiritual and eternal) and all these things (material and temporal) will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (See all of Mathew 6:25-34) As we seek first the kingdom of God (let God rule our heart and actions) and His righteousness, He will give us what we –“need” to live. Often the cause of anxiety is not that we are worried about God meeting our needs but we are worried that He might not meet our –“wants” — the standard of living to which we have grown accustomed. And don’t worry about tomorrow for God’s grace can’t be stored up. He gives it as we need it — day by day. He wants us to know we are totally dependent on Him every day.

God says –“Come let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18) and He gives us three reasons why we need not worry about our needs. 1) Since He gave us life and a body surely He will give us what we need to care for it – food and clothing. 2) Since He cares for the birds and the grass (His creation) will He not care for the pinnacle of His creation – mankind. And, 3) in Christ we are no longer just part of God’s creation, like the birds or the pagans, but we are His children and He is our Father. As our Father He knows what we need, loves us unconditionally and is all powerful. "He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?" (Romans 8:32)

 God has set eternity in our hearts and only eternal things will satisfy us. See Solomon’s (who –“had it all”) message in Ecclesiastes and especially 3:11).Unless we have eternal values at the core of all we do we are ships without rudders wandering aimlessly through the seas of life. For example, in business, what matters most when we are weighing bottom-line costs against bottom-line (eternal) convictions? Do what is right (righteous) and it will have eternal value. Remember, –“secular” work be­comes spiritual when it is done to please God, and –“re­ligious” work becomes secu­lar when it is done to impress people. Money is not evil but what we do with it has eternal implications. We can make Monday – Friday count for all eternity if the focus of our heart is to serve people and honor the Lord.

Questions for reflection/application

"He (Jesus) said to them, "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight." (Luke 16:15) –“ What do men –“highly value” that God finds detestable?

If your actions reveal that your true values (treasures) are not eternal what can you do to change them?

–“I can’t get no satisfaction”! Why did the Rolling Stones and Solomon say that stuff down here won’t truly satisfy us? If this is true why do people still chase after the bucks? (See Mark 4:19)

 Of the three reasons God says not to worry which one speaks to you the most?

–“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this” (Isaiah 9:6-7)

Kristen and I wish you and yours a merry and blessed Christmas and New Year!

O Come let us adore Him,

Len and Kristen

P.S. Would you pray about investing in God’s people and work through Reflections Ministries? We would appreciate your prayers for year-end gifts and/or joining us as monthly partners. 

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