Archive for September 23rd, 2008

Its the Remix Baby #12

Hebrews 9:1-3

9:1 Now even the first second covenant had has regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness. For a tent  building was is prepared, the first section, in which were are the lampstand pews and the table and the bread of the Presence congregation. It is called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain up on the stage was is a second section Pulpit called the Most Holy Place, (TSV, Traditional Standard Version)

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Here is the verse:

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Given the current market turmoil, there has been an unprecedented amount of economic anxiety, not seen in the last 20 plus years or so. One week we started out with 5 investment banks (independent) I think we are down to one (Goldman’s I think). Everybody is rushing around trying to make their investments secure, many are losing much of what they had. The Mortgage crisis caused the Government to intervene with the Freddie’s and a welfare plan (it is funny how welfare is fine for the rich but not the poor) in the amount of 85 Billion for AIG is one of the biggest interventions since the Chrysler crisis a few years back.

It is funny that Jesus tells His disciples this. Before I paste the verse into here, I really want to know, do we take Jesus seriously, or better yet do we think Jesus takes us seriously? Do we? Are those red words to be taken literally or figuratively, are we to have some subjective hermeneutic that takes some of Jesus words literally and others as mild suggestions or best practice? I struggle with this so I ain’t tossing stones, I just wonder if the turning of the cheek, or the walk the extra mile, or to give without asking in return, are imperatives or suggestions. Okay back to the verse:

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

Is this a command or a suggestion? When Jesus says “do not be anxious” what exactly does these phrase mean? Is it emphatic? Given our current economic downturn “how then shall we respond”? Like the pagan with no hope for anything past this life? Or should we have the peace of God that Paul talks about?

But back to the 401K issue. I have a bone to pick with Crown Financial. It is a hermeneutical bone. As I read their material, and had the utter displeasure of going through this at my church, I noticed one thing very quickly. They avoided some verses like a plague. Things such as 2 Corinthians 8-9, Acts 4, and especially Matthew 6 (the part of storing up) were avoided. Let me ask when Jesus says “don’t store up” what exactly does He mean? Does He mean store up retirement but nothing else? Or store up enough to cover your kids college tuition because that would be wise then don’t store up anymore? Does He mean store up enough for you do all the things you want, then don’t store up?

I am not attempting to be legalistic but I also don’t want to ignore my Master. What exactly does Jesus mean? I ask because of this. Dr. Black talks quite a bit about the work in Ethiopia, many other brothers and sisters are trying to get clean drinking water and vaccinations to third world countries, while we in America don’t even worry about stuff like that, we store up more than they even have access to. So while we are planning to retire early, they die at alarming rates. Is this the Gospel that we proclaim? Lets see the words of James:

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Technology is a curse and a blessing depends on how you look at it. We get emails there are thousands of organizations and they send emails, have websites are on radio programs and they are showing the grave needs of many and we say “go in peace” while we store up for our “future” (it is funny that we say Jesus is our future, until it comes to this area of our lives). We say “I must keep my retirement account at a level that is coherent with “my” goals”. While many won’t eat tomorrow.

So I am not writing this because I have it together. I haven’t emptied my bank account, but I do see the early church meeting the needs of each other in an incomparable economy. To be honest I am scared to give like they do, or to cash in my funds to feed the poor and I wonder if James is asking me the question “can your faith save you”? I don’t know but what I do know their faith turned an Empire upside down and they were sacrificers, we have passed the buck to our government and we are storers. Just some food for thought.



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