Read: 2 Chronicles 20:35-37; Matthew 6:19-21; Luke 12:15-21; 2 Corinthians 9:6-12; 1 Timothy 6:17-19
I had to call my brother when I heard the announcement on the NFL Channel just in case he hadn't yet heard the news. He was surprised. He hadn't heard that Tom Brady had come out of retirement. Yes, after less than two months, NO. 18 will be coming back to quarterback for the Buccaneers. Ultimately, Brady's return will have little or no effect on the lives of most fans who enjoy football; however, there is one man whose bottom line was likely altered by Brady's return. He is the one who paid in excess of $500,000 in order to purchase what seemed, at the time, to be a very special football.
After Brady announced his retirement in February, and just prior to his announcing his return, an auction was held. A chance to bid on the ball that had been thrown and resulted in the quarterback's final touchdown of his long career. Except Brady's announcement changed that. Those who understand bidding for items say that when Brady throws his first touchdown of the up-coming season, the heretofore valuable ball will be worth only a fraction of the price the anonymous buyer paid. Right now, it is purportedly worth about $20,000. Talk about depreciation! What a picture this is concerning our earthly treasures and how tenuous they are.
Although there is nothing wrong with enjoying the blessings God has graciously given us, 1 Timothy 6:17, the scriptures warn us, that everything that is here on earth is only temporary. Nothing here, no matter how we might try to keep it safe and in good condition, will stand the test of time. Only what we give and do for the Lord's honor won't eventually wear away or be destroyed, Matthew 6:19-21. Even if some lovely things outlast us here, they will eventually be destroyed when the Lord makes all things new, 2 Peter 3:10-13. In 2 Chronicles 20:35-37, God taught King Jehoshaphat an important lesson.
This king of Judah, who had previously honored God with his reign, made a foolish decision. He allied himself with the Northern Kingdom of Israel's wicked king, Ahaziah.
The result? God destroyed the ships that the two kings had planned as part of a joint venture. God was not pleased with Jehoshaphat's partnering with a king who walked contrary to His ways.
This week, I heard a testimony given by Dimas Salaberrios. He was a drug dealer who came to understand His need for God's grace and forgiveness. When Dimas first attended church, he like each of us, had a great deal to learn. When testimonies were being shared, Dimas proudly told of the tithe he was able to give because of his drug sales. He hadn't yet learned that it was wrong to sell drugs. He didn't yet know that it wasn't honoring to God to tithe money that came from that activity. Like Jehoshaphat, his walk needed changing because God cares more about our walk with Him than how much money we make or even how much money we can give.
In Luke 12:15-21, Jesus told a story to remind us how transient riches are. Can you imagine a person who accrued so much wealth that his storage places couldn't contain it? What to do? He decided to build larger storage places and kick back and relax when that was done. Sadly, this was a man who like King Ahaziah had no interest in God. His life, in Jesus' story ended with his wealth being useless because he hadn't honored God with it, Luke 12:21.
In 1 Peter 1:3-5, we see an opposite picture than the one Jesus painted in Luke 12. Here we see the man who is born anew. He is kept by God, and the treasure he has sent ahead is kept safe in heaven. What a contrast! There is no depreciation when a man's inheritance, as well as the man himself, is guarded by the Lord.
In 2 Corinthians 9:6-12, speaks boldly about the joy God wants us to have when we give. In these verses, Paul reminds us that God will supply us with what we need to give as needs arise. How good God is to both enable us to give and then reward us when we participate in His work. In 2 Corinthians 9:12, we are reminded that Spirit-led giving results in praises and thanksgiving being given to God. We know, as King David did, that we are only able to give because the Creator has made it possible, 1 Chronicles 29:10-13.
Lord, we honor You for the treasure which You have given us to enjoy now and for the treasure You allow us to lay up in heaven.