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Monday, December 02, 2013

The “Mine Field”

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One author tells the story of a woman who met a friend of her father’s who had not seen him for many years. The woman’s father was a devout Christian, so she found great joy in telling his old acquaintance about her dad’s recent cancer fight, of his trust in the Lord, and the way he faced suffering and even the prospect of death. She was very proud of her father’s ways.

The friend, however, had lived a different kind of life. Having given himself over completely to earning money and hoarding every cent he could, he had become very wealthy. But he didn’t have the same glad anticipation of the future as his friend did. He explained it to the daughter this way: “Your father can be more optimistic about heaven than I for a very simple reason. He is going to his treasure. I’ll be leaving mine!”

It has been said, "Money is a good servant, but a bad master." A greedy person can never have enough of physical or material things. They think of making more money, creating more wealth, and becoming more prosperous. They dream of money in their sleep, bring up money in their conversation, and believe that money talks, money makes money, and they forget money makes the devil his employer. The void in their heart becomes a gaping hole and, if unchecked, a crater.

Do you remember the verdict on Martha Stewart? She had a net worth in the billions, but she risked everything to save $60,000 in stock value. She faced prison time for something that must have seemed like a small infraction to her. Like her, we may think that small departures from integrity are no big deal.

Do you remember Bernie Madoff? He was convicted of fraud and operating a Ponzi scheme that is still considered the largest financial fraud in American history. He became the picture of greed.

Now here’s the shock. You don’t have to have millions and or billions to become greedy. The threat of greed can fall on anyone with any amount of money or even someone with the lack of it. If we’re not careful, we could all find ourselves in a “Mine Field.”

I have a DVD of an old movie classic called, “Kelly’s Heroes.” The movie is packed with some big name actors and takes place during the Second World War. During the movie, Kelly’s soldiers walk into a mine field, and two of his friends are killed. The rest have to crawl out on their bellies carefully maneuvering around the mines. It is a tense movie moment and depicts the caution that must be taken when we hear the word “mine.” A mine field is a very dangerous place to find one’s self. There are still some places in our world where the danger of stepping on a land mine is still a real threat.

 That same “Mine” philosophy is also a real danger. And Christians are warned not to get trapped into a “Mine” lifestyle. There is another way to live. There is a biblical way to see our finances.

I read an article where a pastor told about a woman who fainted in church one Sunday while he was preaching. She fell over and struck her head on the end of the pew. Immediately, an EMT in the congregation called an ambulance. As they strapped the elderly woman to a stretcher and got ready to head out the door, she motioned for her daughter to come near. The daughter leaned close to hear her mother say. “My offering is in my purse.” Now there’s a woman who came to church with a heartfelt desire to GIVE to the Lord. Here is a woman who had avoided the “Mine Field” and discovered the truth of living the Proverbs 11 passage: One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. (Proverbs 11:24)

Upcoming Sermon Series

During the month of November, we will take the time to look at money and possessions. What does the Bible say about materialism? Is it as satisfying as our culture makes it out to be? Is it as evil as some Christians make it out to be?

Nov 3 The Extravagant Gift (Our Time Campaign)

Nov 10 The Danger in Loving Money

Nov 17 What the Bible Says About Christian Giving

Nov 24 Global Impact Sunday

[Ron Otto, Lincoln Christian Church]


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