Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 43:1-45:5 / 1 Timothy 5:1-6:2 / Psalm 119:65-72
We live in a society that is driven by selfishness and greed. Politicians design their campaigns with this in mind and advertisers target their marketing to the “what’s in if for me” attitude. Our governmental system is also entrenched in the “take care of me” and “entitlement” spirit.
We have a responsibility to assist the poor, needy and elderly yet there has been an alarming increase in Federal entitlement spending in the last 40 years. In 1962, 31% of the US federal budget went for entitlements and in 2012, 62% of the federal budget went for entitlements. There are well deserving and qualified people who need assistance but there are those who abuse and take advantage of well meaning assisted programs.
Remember, we have a tendency to follow and pursue things in life that are advantageous and beneficial on our behalf. We will even go as far to compromise standards and realign our beliefs if it brings desired or fulfilling results. Israel forsook their faith in God because other “gods” were more profitable to follow. They rejected the message of the Lord and would not listen to Jeremiah.
They said, “We will burn incense to the Queen of Heaven and will pour out drink offerings to her just as we and our fathers, our kings and our officials did in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. At that time we had plenty of food and were well off and suffered no harm. But ever since we stopped burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have had nothing and have been perishing by sword and famine.” (Jeremiah 44:16-18)
The people of Israel believed the Queen of Heaven was the giver and provider of their abundance, protection and success. They concluded that their demise began when they ceased to worship her. Their decision was based upon their perceived experience and a desire to worship a god based upon “what is in it for me?”
We have to be careful that our relationship with God is not simply a calculated and selfishly motivated decision. Those who choose God for “what they can get” usually become disenchanted and forsake God for something else that is “bigger and better”. For them, choosing God is not a faith based decision but a self-serving decision.
When we follow Christ, we definitely receive much more than we ever think we give up. We give Him our sin and He gives us His redemption. We give Him our failure and He gives us His forgiveness. God always gives us more blessings than we deserve. He loved us while we were yet sinners and died for us when we were ungodly. We do not serve Him for “what we get” out of Him but for “what He gave” for us!
Pastor James Clark has pastored Calvary Assembly since 1985. He is blessed with his wife Yvonne, six children, two son-in-laws, a beautiful granddaughter and hopefully many more grandchildren to follow!