Shouldn't we suppose that many of our most painful ordeals will look quite different a million years from now, as we recall them on the New Earth? What if one day we discover that God has wasted nothing in our life on Earth? What if we see that every agony was part of giving birth to an eternal joy?
Your children should love the Lord, work hard, and experience the joy of trusting God. More important than leaving your children an inheritance is leaving them a spiritual heritage. If you left your children money they didn't need, and if they were thinking correctly, wouldn't they give it to God anyway? Then why not give it to God yourself, since He entrusted it to you?
When Paul was taken in chains from his filthy Roman dungeon and beheaded at the order of the opulent madman Nero, two representatives of humanity faced off, one of the best and one of the worst. One lived for prosperity on earth, the other didn't. One now lives in prosperity in heaven, the other doesn't. We remember both men for what they truly were, which is why we name our sons Paul and our dogs Nero.
A nominal Christian often discovers in suffering that his faith has been in his church, denomination, or family tradition, but not Christ. As he faces evil and suffering, he may lose his faith. But that's actually a good thing. I have sympathy for people who lose their faith, but any faith lost in suffering wasn't a faith worth keeping.
If economic catastrophe does come, will it be a time that draws Christians together to share every resource we have, or will it drive us apart to hide in our own basements or mountain retreats, guarding at gunpoint our private stores from others? If we faithfully use our assets for his kingdom now, rather than hoarding them, can't we trust our faithful God to provide for us then?
The conflicting missions of the two armies seemed to have no fog, no gray, only black-and-white clarity. I had lived my life in terms of compromise, rule-bending, trade-offs, concessions, bargaining, striking deals, finding middle ground. In these two great armies, there was no such thing. Good was good, and evil was evil, and they shared no common ground.
Given our abundance, the burden of proof should always be on keeping, not giving. Why would you not give? We err by beginning with the assumption that we should keep or spend the money God entrusts to us. Giving should be the default choice. Unless there is a compelling reason to spend it or keep it, we should give it.
Giving up everything must mean giving over everything to kingdom purposes, surrendering everything to further the one central cause, loosening our grip on everything. For some of us, this may mean ridding ourselves of most of our possessions. But for all of us it should mean dedicating everything we retain to further the kingdom. (For true disciples, however, it cannot mean hoarding or using kingdom assets self-indulgently.)
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