Saturday, December 14, 2013

12 Blogs of Christmas - Blog post # 7 - Where is your hope?

Hi friends,

Today's Christmas post is about hope.  Recently I listened to an excellent podcast by a great and inspiring speaker - Andy Stanley.  The topic of the message was 'How to be Rich.'  No - I didn't make a typo - the message wasn't how to get rich - although I'm sure there are plenty of podcasts on that.  His topic was how to be rich because he states that he wants everyone to be prepared in case they become rich they will do it well (much better than how most rich people we know do it.)

I can't possible do the message justice, but I'll try to share the ultimate message he was driving at. Regardless of how much wealth any one person or family has, it is very tempting for each of us to begin to put our hope in our wealth and not in God.

First, let me tell why putting all your hope in wealth is a bad thing.  Do you think all the money in the world can cure a terminal illness?  If you are diagnosed with a terminal illness (and let's be frank here, all of will die at some time - so in a way - humanness is a terminal illness) would your wealth help you out?  Of course not. When you are faced with the immediacy of death, your hope suddenly shifts from your money and wealth toward God.  God can be with you in the transition from life into death and if you call out to God, he will even help you achieve ever-lasting life - life after death.  Can your money do that?  No, of course not.

So, if you are going to put your hope in God at the end of your life, why not consider putting your hope in God in the middle (or beginning!)

Another reason why it's not always a good idea to put all your hope in wealth is that it is fleeting.  History shows us many, many situations where hard working, smart people lose their fortunes.  Yes, sometimes (okay maybe many times) people lose their wealth over foolish or greedy choices.  But it happens often enough that circumstances beyond someones control cause it all to be lost (stock market crash anyone?)

One more reason why it isn't wise to put all your hope in your wealth is that wealth rarely satisfies.  Have you ever spent time with a rich person?  When I was a teenager we had wealthy neighbors.  These people were RICH (at least in my mind.)  They had a house way bigger than ours in CT that was just for weekends.  They had more fancy cars than room in their 4 car garage.  They had 4 nannies for their two kids (two nannies for their Manhattan flat and two for CT.)  Anyway, I was amazed at how stressed Michael was - all the time.  When he spent a fortune on landscaping for the yard, he was freaking out because he couldn't get well water to irrigate it.  You'd think when your rich you could avoid stress, but my experience showed it only magnified it.

So what's the alternative? Well, put your hope in God!

God will provide for you for your physical needs in times when you are stretched beyond your own resources.  I have a friend who shared a story of one time when her and her husband had no food in the house and no money in their wallet or bank account.  A bag of groceries arrived on their doorstep that fed them and their 3 little children.  Stories like this are not uncommon - even though they are hard to believe.

God will provide for your satisfaction.  Think about yourself.  Think back to times in your life when you felt whole and complete and satisfied?  Are those times when you had some great material possession?  Are those times when you had a huge wad of cash in your hand or your bank account?  Probably not.  Most likely you had those feelings during times of helping others, feeling loved unconditionally or being charitable - things that God says will fulfill your purpose on earth.

God will provide eternal life.  Do you wonder what happens when you die?  Do you hope their is something beyond the grave?  God promises there is life after death.  When Jesus was dying on the cross - two thieves were on crosses next to him. He said to one thief 'Truly I will see you in paradise.'  He offered eternal life to the thief dying on the cross.  He will offer eternal life to you two.  Think you are too far gone for God?  You are wrong.  If it wasn't too late for that thief in Jerusalem, it's not too late for you.

'Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.'

Thanks for visiting my blog today.  If you are curious about Andy Stanley's podcast I included a link below to the series.  The one I am referencing in my blog above is 'Be Rich part 2 - side effects.'

Andy Stanley Podcasts

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