|Good morning everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “The end of anxiety and despair”
Our Bible verse for today: “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we have told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 (NIV)
Our thought for today: “Just don’t obsess about it”
Once when I was leading a mission team to the Transylvania region of Romania, there was a day when our team was holding medical and dental clinics in a small gypsy farming village tucked away in a remote valley in the mountains. Since I’m a pastor and not a healthcare professional, and since they didn’t really need my help in the clinic that day, I spent the day visiting in homes in the village.
I remember visiting with one elderly Christian lady. Her small home was very old and made out of concrete and wood. It was sturdy and snug, but small and sparse. It was adequately furnished, but the furniture was simple and old. We sat in her combination kitchen, dining room, sitting room, drinking tea, eating cookies, and conversing through a translator.
What impressed me then, and the memory that sticks with me all these years later, is the serene sense of contentment the old gypsy woman had. She was peaceful, calm, content, and very gracious. She spoke often and openly about her close relationship with Jesus and how He consistently provided for all her needs over all the years of her long life – even during the darkest and most difficult years under communist rule. Her faith sustained her, and it was always enough.
The passage in 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 (above), is one of the Apostle Paul’s contributions to the body of New Testament passages which encourage us to focus more on the Lord and less on our concerns about money and possessions. Paul’s teaching is an extension of Jesus’ teaching on the same subject, which we considered yesterday.
The point in all of those passages is not that we should never strive for higher education, or success in business, or promotions at work, or to have a nice home and a retirement fund. It’s that we’re not to fixate on and obsess about such things. We do have a personal responsibility to work hard, earn a living, and to support ourselves and our families. And yes, this world does need doctors and lawyers and government officials, as well as butchers and bakers and candlestick makers. The point is not to rid ourselves of all aspirations for achievement, but to let go of our obsession with money and possessions.
This is an important distinction and so we’ll think more about this tomorrow. It’s good to work hard to do well in life, just don’t obsess about it.
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