Monday, July 29, 2013

Final Instructions

 When our children were young, we would leave a detailed list, for our babysitter, of things like bedtime hour, snacks they could have and if they needed any medicine.  Now our children who are grown and married leave a list for Grammy and Papa to follow while caring for our grandchildren.  I am thankful for such a memo as I am not accustomed to the routines they follow, and to be honest, I might forget to do something which is important for their well being.  In much the same way, we are given reminders at the end of many of the letters found in the New Testament concerning our conduct.  These loving words, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, are meant to direct our conduct, so that we might enjoy the abundant life found in living for Jesus Christ.
     One such instruction stands out to me in light of our economic plight in today's market place.  Many of us are tempted to fret and stew over money.  After all, the cost of living is going up while many paychecks are not.  In addition, we are often confronted with unexpected expenses that come at us all at once.  The writer of Hebrews is aware of our daily challenges and closes his letter with an encouragement we all need to remember:  "Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'  So we can confidently say, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?'" (Heb. 13:3-6)
     Having financial security seems to be the driving goal for most people today.  We all want to feel we  have enough funds to cover our family in cases of emergency.  However, the writer, here, points out that if this becomes the driving force for our life we could well miss the joy that comes from trusting God.  Our security should not be placed in finances which can be here today and gone tomorrow just like some jobs.  Rather our security is found in God.  He wants us to be content with what we have.  Those driven by wanting more and more often lead an empty life because when they get what they want they are never satisfied.
     Remember that this concluding chapter of Hebrews follows the description of all who died in faith believing (chapter 11).  In that chapter, the writer reminds his readers of all those who believed God and trusted in His providence for their daily needs.  One such case is that of Abraham.  God had called Abraham to offer up his son as a sacrifice to test his faith.  While Abraham had a lot of wealth, giving up his son Isaac, for whom he had waited the majority of his life, would be the most difficult thing he had been asked to do.  However, he obeyed God and the writer of Hebrews writes:  "He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, for which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back" (Heb. 11:19).  We know that God provided that lamb for the sacrifice and became Jehovah Jireh (the Lord will provide) for Abraham and all who followed in faith.
     In addition, the writer of Hebrews follows his injunction to avoid the love of money with the words of encouragement which God spoke to Joshua (Joshua 1:5) "I will never leave you nor forsake you."  With God by our side as we face the challenges that come with living in a fallen world where things break and need to be fixed, children get sick and need costly medicine and where good paying jobs are hard to find, we need not fear.  He is our helper as the author states.
     Money can buy us many things but it cannot provide us with happiness or security.  Only God can do that for us as we trust in Him.  I will close with this illustration that I heard about today.  A friend and her family just returned from a two week vacation which they enjoyed.  They found rest and refreshment just in seeing the sights and attending a Christian conference.  However, while they were gone, her children had become sick.  It lasted only a day or two so they were able to continue with their trip.  Then, on the way home, they had a blow-out which was very frightening.  Upon returning to their home, they found the air conditioner had completely gone out on their relatively new home.  Also, both their refrigerator and freezer had quit working and all the contents had spoiled making the home smell horrible.  So now, they were faced with replacing their air conditioning unit, a new freezer and refrigerator and to top it off, my friend had gotten a sinus infection which caused her to have vertigo.  However, she was still smiling because she trusted in the Lord.  She would not allow these circumstances to ruin their wonderful memories of a vacation nor would this interfere with her love of the Lord.  He would provide for their needs.
      Just as I appreciate the list given to me when we care for our grandchildren telling me what needs to be done so I do not forget, I also appreciate these final instructions given to believers at the end of this letter to the Hebrews.  This writer is telling us what we must remember as he closes out this inspired book.  God is all sufficient and able to meet all our needs according to His riches in glory.  Therefore, let us be content with what we have trusting in our Lord who provides.  Selah!

Photo courtesy of Wiki Commons

No comments: