Friday, 9 January 2009

Of More Worth Than Money

Just a few weeks ago I spoke with a teacher from Lillydale who told me a touching story of a European exchange student who was allocated to this unlikely school. She was a very studious girl who had come to Australia to learn. Yet most of her adopted fellow students did not consider learning the reason they went to school. At the Leavers' Dinner she gave her farewell speech. She shared how that back in her own country education was the most prized acquisition a person could have. As such, she shared, her parents had been making huge sacrifices all her life to ensure that their daughter received the best education that they could nearly afford. Her trip to Australia was a part of her quest to acquire this most valued possession. She then turned her focus off herself and directly toward her temporary fellow students. In Australia, your government gives you an education and most of you have refused to take it! In my country this same education costs two and possibly three lifetimes to repay. If we do not value education and learning we are not going to be able to compete in the marketplace or job-market, and we are consequently looked down upon and considered for the most menial jobs. Her Australian peers listened in stunned silence. They had never considered the enormous privilege that they had just spent the last few years squandering. They had valued amusement (a+muse=no thinking) over education.

What do you value most? The other day Kim asked me what I would quickly grab from our house if I only had a few seconds before it burnt down. It's an interesting question. Would you grab your wallet or your photo album? Would you grab your favourite device or a piece of art?

What would you have if you could have more of one thing?

Jesus said, "Do not lay up treasures on earth...but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven" (Matthew 6:19-20). Jesus went on to explain- "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:21) The problem from Christ's perspective isn't 'treasure' but rather, what is 'treasured'. It's not about what things you have- but about what things have you.

For some people, money is their most prized possession. But the Scriptures give us a list of things worth far more than money, and better yet, often don't initially cost money either.

  • Wisdom (Prov. 3:14)

  • Instruction from a teacher (Prov. 8:10)

  • Insight (Prov. 16:16)

  • Advice from experts (Prov. 20:15)

  • A good reputation as an honest, reliable person (Prov. 22:1)

  • A caring word of correction humbly received (Prov. 25:12)

    With the looming economic crisis worsening, there is much we can value that doesn't initially cost any money. There is much that we can do which is of great value that doesn't necessarily cost money: we can pray, fellowship, worship, meditate on God and His Word, read a Christian classic, make a new friend, and renew old friendships. In this vein, Paul the Apostle said-

    Romans 13:8 ¶ Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.

    I hope that in the year ahead we value our spiritual growth and all that is associated with it- fellowship, Bible Study, prayer, worship, assembling, serving, contemplating God and His Word, seeking God's supernatural provisions, evangelism, and the opportunity to help someone else to grow spiritually.

    Father, help us to value your treasures. Help us not be obsessed with material wealth or things. Help us to avoid debt but to always live as though we have a debt of love toward others. Lord, I pray that we can prize the riches of fellowship, the wealth of wisdom, the gems of insight and correction from others, the joy of Your grace toward us.

  • 1 comment:

    1. A timely word Andrew!

      I'd never thought about the etymology of 'amusement' - says a lot about the values of our society doesn't it?

      Even our Christianity, our corporate culture and worship, is affected by it. We like to leave our minds at the door.