TITLE: All Of It
DATE: January 27, 2019
TEXT: 1 Thessalonians 4:1 – ESV - Finally, then, brothers,[a] we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more.
Some time ago I read an anecdote told about the chief accountant of one of the wealthiest men who ever lived: John D. Rockefeller, Sr.
Now if you have never heard, Mr. Rockefeller was a very smart, very shrewd, incredibly ruthless individual.
He, along with his wealth, proved to be most fascinating for the press and the newsreels of his day. You can get some idea of his attitude toward money and stuff from a little anecdote which is supposed to have come from one such interview. The reporter began by asking, “Mr. Rockefeller, you’ve got a great deal of money. Can you tell me, just how much money is enough?”
John D is said to have replied: "That’s easy. It’s just a little bit more than you have."
Well, the time eventually came when Mr. Rockefeller left this veil of tears.
As his vast estate was being distributed, another reporter had a question for the estate’s chief accountant. He asked, "The world knows John D. was an immensely wealthy man. What everyone really wants to know is: “Just how much money did he leave behind?’”
Without a moment’s hesitation, the accountant answered, “All of it!"
Amazing! That’s exactly the same amount that I am going to leave behind when I move on. It’s the same amount you are going to leave behind, too. We go, the stuff remains. That is a truth which cannot be denied.
Which is why Jesus wants you to know having money and stuff is OK as long as it doesn’t displace God from your heart. That’s right, there’s nothing wrong with stuff. But don’t, not for a moment, think that being rich in money and stuff can be a suitable substitute for being rich in your relationship with the Savior.
Don’t trick yourself into believing that all the stuff you have collected here will be with you in heaven or hell.
Money, my friends, is not the root of all evil. Love of money, love of stuff, love of anything which displaces God, which overshadows the Savior; which overpowers His grace; which overrides His plans and His life-giving intentions for you, is the root, trunk, branches and leaves of all evil.
If you doubt me, read the Scripture, look at your neighbors, watch tonight’s evening news. Take a close look at the rich, the powerful, the famous and ask, “Do these who own everything this world can offer, seem to be permanently, completely happy? Do their children seem stable and secure?” Understand, I am not even asking whether the rich and famous have found anything more valuable for eternity… I’m asking about the right here and the right now.
Which is why we give thanks the Holy Spirit has called us away from the sinful folly of following money, stuff, anything which says it can substitute, supplant and supersede the Savior; from any lifestyle which says God is content with our leftovers.
We give thanks the Holy Spirit has taken us to Bethlehem’s hay-strewn manger, Calvary’s bloodied cross and the Savior’s open grave. There we have been given a faith that believes on God’s Son Who took our place under the law so we might have a place in heaven; Who resisted Satan’s temptations so we might be given Divine redemption; Who died so we might live; Who lives so we might never die.
He deserves our best, our first fruits of thanks… never the leftovers.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, Jesus came to earth and gave His all for my salvation. May His praise always be first in my life. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann, one of my long-ago confirmands. He is singing with three brothers. This song comes from the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html