Saturday, June 25, 2016

First Things First

"No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

-- Matthew 6:24

Bible studies can be rewarding. But who knew this much?

Earlier this month, the Daily Mail website reported that a San Antonio, TX, widow happened to mention her late husband's baseball card collection to another member of her group. She had no idea how much the cards were worth, but she wanted to clear them out of the house. 

The husband of one of the Bible study Baseball Cardparticipants just happened to be an avid baseball card collector, and he volunteered to take a look. What he found was a vast collection amassed between the 1940s and 2007--and all organized in 3-ring binders on bookshelves that lined an entire room. Amazed by the treasure trove, the collector alerted his friend Al Crisafulli, the owner of a New Jersey-based baseball memorabilia auction site. Crisafulli soon hopped a plane to Texas and was astounded by what he found.

"It's crazy--not anything I've seen before," he said, "It's easily the largest collection in terms of sheer volume. I've never seen anything like it before."

Crisafulli estimates that the widow's baseball bonanza will sell for at least $100,000. That's not bad for a bunch of old cards that were just taking up space!

The Bible tells us that there's nothing wrong with money, riches or even "stuff" in general. They're simply neutral instruments that can be used for good or for evil. In fact, God gives us various blessings to enjoy and share with others. The trouble comes when they take over our lives, such as with spending excessive time and money on eBay or Amazon. We may accumulate lots of costly possessions with such a hobby, but it can enslave us through the resulting credit card payments.

It's in Matthew's gospel that Jesus admonishes his followers about the dangers of trusting amassed wealth:

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Few of us have a $100,000 baseball card collection. And even if we did, its value could disappear overnight because of market fluctuations, theft or other factors. So rather than our possessions, bank accounts or careers, let's instead place our faith in Jesus, who's the only trustworthy source of true lasting treasure.

"Seek first God's kingdom and what God wants," he assures us. "Then all your other needs will be met as well."

No comments: