But I want that...

Did you ever want something so bad you could taste it? I remember as a young guy watching Magnum, P.I. He drove that Ferrari Deno. It was sweet. I even hung a poster of it above my bed when I was at Harding University. I always wanted one of those and it is on my bucket list to at least to “rent” and drive one day.

But there are moments when what we want gets in the way of our relationships with people and God and our health. Jesus warns us in Luke 12:13-21, “Beware. Watch out…” Our selfish desires can sneak up on us. With sexual sin, the Bible tells us to “run”. But greed and selfish desire sneaks up on us. There are some things we learn from the story Jesus tells in the text.

Greed can confuse your self-worth. We have to remember “things” do not define us. Jesus does! We are sons and daughters of the Most High God. Jesus is our King and brother. We are made in his image. Nothing on earth compares to that.

Greed can ruin your relationships. Some of my closest friends and even relatives have ended up focusing on money. Every time we were together, it was always about money. And if I didn’t give them money or what they wanted in the moment, I did not love them. At least, that’s what they told me. So, because of greed, I’ve lost many relationships and some have turned into very shallow interaction.

Greed can harden your heart as well. If you’ve seen The Return of the King in the Lord of Ring series, you saw what happened to Gollum. He was a Hobbit that started out fishing with a friend. Before the day was over, they had found the ring and Gollum’s friend was dead. He lost everything after that because he only cared about himself and the ring. If we aren’t careful and live life with open hands, we’ll end up with a closed heart.

But what if your identity was all about what and how you give in your life, not about what you keep? Jesus says at the end of Luke 12, “Your treasure is where your heart is.” I’m not always good at it but I gave my heart to Jesus a long time ago. He is my treasure. Won’t you make him yours? Learning to let go of stuff is a tough one but as followers of Jesus, we learn to let go in order to hang on to him. Blessings on your journey.

Oh the Single Life!

It’s been decades since I was a single man. I look around and cringe at the dating scene today in our culture. I feel like I would resign myself to be a bachelor. It seems a little scary.

I also know the church and our families don’t make if easy to be single. Most of our ministries in our churches focus on families or couples. We don’t plan well to include single members of Christ’s body. Even with our parents and grands, we get a lot of pressure to find Mr. or Mrs. Right and tie the knot. After all, the Bible is clear early on (Genesis 3) that the two will become one.

But, have we (the church) missed one of the gifts of the Spirit in singleness? When one reads Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 7:7, he reminds the reader he is single, not married. The very next sentence talks about the gifts of the Spirit and we should use them to God’s glory. So if being single is a gift, the church and our families should treat it like a gift. Here are a few ideas I take away from 1 Corinthians 7 as I read about following Jesus whether married or single.

Pursue Jesus. Whatever you do, however you’ve chosen life at this stage, pursue Jesus. Maybe you are married. Together, live for Jesus. Perhaps you find yourself in a single state right now. Maybe that singleness is because you’ve chosen that path; maybe you’re dating; maybe you’ve gone through a divorce; maybe you have lost your mate to death. Paul says, pursue Jesus the Christ with everything you have. Heart and soul, love Jesus.

Paul reminds those who are single to stay sexually pure. Strive to set the example in purity for those around you. Run from sexual temptation. The world is pushing you to experiment sexually outside the covenant of marriage. Paul reminds us to stay disciplined…keep your eyes on Jesus. Don’t conform to the world and it’s thinking but be transformed by a disciplined mind.

Finally, pray for patience. Pray that God will give you wisdom and discernment in your relationships to better know what His will is for you. Pray that you’ll patiently follow Jesus and live in such a way as to be a light on the hill for your friends, family, work place and neighborhood.

Paul says when you’re single, you can focus totally on Jesus and building up his kingdom here on earth. So, for those of us that are married, encourage those who are single. Ask them to lunch and dinner. Invite them into ministry with you. Challenge them to live for Jesus. Be a person they can depend on and look to for guidance and wisdom. Everyone is welcomed at God’s table. Let’s actively engage everyone in kingdom family work. Blessings on your journey.