Wednesday, January 24, 2007

But God #6

But God #6

But God said to him, Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be? -- Luke 12:20; English Standard Version

In MY best estimation, there are three things that will cause a person to look seriously at their lives: (1) A traumatic experience, such as a near-death experience, or an unexpected, dramatic change in one's circumstances, such as one losing one's employment and not being able to secure new employment or any of many other traumatic possibilities. (2) A BRUTALLY honest life inventory; this is a time when we look with complete, open honesty at what we have done in and with our lives. I know there are many people who have sought help through Alcoholics Anonymous who have done this. (3) An encounter with the Living God.

The third is the most productive and I have heard many testimonies that the first two listed above were simply circumstances that God used to cause the third.

Personally, by way of testimony, I went through all three at once and KNOW it was God getting my attention turned to Him.

Today's "But God" moment is taken from a parable that Jesus told in Luke 12:16-21. Jesus told a parable of a farmer who was very self-centered and thought of God but very little. Here is the whole passage: And He told them a parable, saying, The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops? And he said, I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry. But God said to him, Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be? So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God (ESV - emphasis mine). Note all of the personal possessive pronouns the man used. I call it the "I-me-mine-complex". The only time the farmer said "you" was when he was talking to himself!

Here is the blunt truth of this "but God" devotion; we can live our lives as we wish, "BUT GOD" will have us give an account of how we have lived. The question will be simple: Have we lived in respect of Him?

The man in Jesus' parable lived for himself and gave no thought to God.

Many of us do no differently today. We build. We tear down. We plant. We reap. We buy. We sell. We pursue riches. We enjoy them. We inventory our stuff and get more. It's all about self.

But God...

This is perhaps one of the simplest AND most challenging thoughts one could have; whether we live to self or give thought to God.

Sure, we can do whatever we want, that's a fact. One day the books of our lives will be opened and fearless audit will ensue.

One who is "rich toward God" is one who puts God first in their affections. When that happens, those affections will drive one's actions. Such a one will store up riches in heaven and do much good to others between now and the day God calls them home. Such a person gives ALL into the hand of God and trusts God for the keeping of such.

Yes, we CAN do whatever we want. We can spend every moment of our lives figuring how we might please ourselves. It doesn't have to be that dramatic; we can spend the majority of our time on ourselves. Even more subtle, we can just ignore God. We can consciously or unconsciously pretend He doesn't know or care what we are doing. We can simply not intentionally seek Him.

I don't want to wait for another traumatic experience. I want to continually encounter the Living God and be completely, brutally honest with Him and myself. I never want to come to the end of my rope again before I look to Him.

The farmer never sought God. Till his dying breath the farmer's thought was "Me!"

But God...

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