11He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; (Luke 3:)
Nature isn't the only source of this world's troubles, there are those we make for ourselves. Just a very few examples of these are homelessness, poverty, lack of jobs, rising economy, poor manufacturing processes, ineffective government, civil disobedience, wars, consumerism, and commercialism. On top of these problems we have others that can cause the earth to vomit we humans from itself such as fragile nuclear reactors, enough stashes of atomic warheads to blow up the universe, staggering amounts of pollution in the ground, the air, and the water; and the defoliation of this world's plant life and the stripping the land of its nutrients and protective cover.
I won't bother to mention the manufacture of materials that not only pollute the soil and refuse to decompose, nor the stripping of our food of life-giving nutrients, nor the destruction of the family, nor the increase of immorality both in the world and in the churches. No, I won't even give a mention to those things, although I certainly should.
The world is destroying itself, and it isn't even bothering to give its problems much more than a superficial glance. It makes small jabs at a dragon of a problem, and thinks it's got the dragon on a chain.
One day this world will be looking at a problem that will make the recent tsunami in Japan look like a Sunday school picnic. And there will be no crying for help from the government, nor appealing to other countries for aid, because everyone will be in the same sinking boat. What will we do then? What will you do then? Have you given it any thought?
When I talk to people about preparing for a disaster, a very probable one that is late in coming, I receive a grin as if to say "that will never happen to me." I wonder how many people who are sitting on the rubble of their hopes and dreams had that very same attitude. I suspect many, even though they are living in a zone that has a history of such events. We're lazy, and we're blind. That's the nature of us humans. Because we're lazy, and we don't want to deal with situations, we turn a blind eye to the possibility. This is just what the Pharisees did with Jesus. They refused to open their eyes and see what was standing right in front of them.
God has a way of creating new beginnings. He does this with His creation, and He does this in our individual lives. With His creation He has destroyed everything with a flood. Did we learn anything from this event? Of course not. We still think it will never happen to us. God has wiped out nations for their disobedience. He has cleansed the land He calls His own from the very people He called His own, and who He prepared to inhabit and care for that land. He worked with these people giving them exact instructions as to what they must do to remain on the land, and what would happen if they did not follow those instructions. What good did it do? You know the answer to this question.
Jesus told His disciples that they would experience troubles in their lives. This they expected, and this came to pass. We are told to expect the same thing. We, considering ourselves special, have turned a blind eye to what God has told us. That will never happen to me.
God told us in many places in the Bible that He is going to destroy this earth and start over again with just the faithful. Do we believe God? Oh yes, we believe God. But we don't believe it will involve us. And because we believe we will be elsewhere during the event, we don't bother to prepare.
But what if it does involve us? Are you prepared?
Let me draw you a little picture. Suppose there's a local disaster in your town. Every town has its potential disaster depending on where we live. You've lost everything. You sit on a pile of rubble. All your past is gone. All your future is gone. You now have nothing but your hopes and your dreams. What do you do?
From a child you've had aspirations to do or to be something. Along the road of life you've been detoured from that goal. In fact the likelihood is that you've had to take several detours along the way. It might be a job that sidetracked you. It might be a family that caused you to look another direction. It might be that you had so much invested in your present lifestyle that you feel you couldn't alter your direction even if you wanted to. Well, God has given you a new beginning. What are you going to do with it?
If you're one of the world, a person who has been born through a series of bugs, accidents and monkeys, then you will very likely have hopes of piling up another stack of treasures on top the rubble that will stand as a target for the next big disaster that comes your way. Most people do all they can to build back the empire they lost, bauble by bauble, because they feel they have been deprived of what they worked for and what they deserve. Is this you? I suspect it is.
But suppose you're a Christian. You've dedicated your life to the Lord. You're a faithful church attender, and you're ever ready to be there when your church beckons. You're well acquainted with the Bible, and you know what the Bible says about giving up all and serving the Lord. You know you're to give to your neighbor if your neighbor is in need. You know if you see someone without a coat, and you have two coats, that you are to give the needy what you have excess of. You know these things. And you believe these things because you're a faithful Christian. Am I right? Do you know and believe these things? What do you do now that you are given a new beginning? Ummm. Let me guess. You'd do the very same thing the unchurched person will do. You'll do all you can to rebuild what you had, and your church will back you up in your efforts, and your direction, to the hilt. Why? Because that's what every one of them would do in your position. It's the American way.
Instead of being normal, instead of being civilized, let's take a look at your situation from the perspective of Biblical teaching. Let's see if there might be another more profitable way to rebuild your empire than to build what you lost brick by slimy brick. Let's take a look at some verses and see if they will help us in our efforts:
20The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? 21Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. Mat 19:)
17But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? (John 3:)
33whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:)
Have we created a firm foundation far a new Christian beginning? Assuming we have, let's take a look at your priceless possessions and see how they appear through God's eyes:
SNACK TIME: There's sodas, potato chips, candy bars, cakes, pies, tea, coffee, espressos, and a multitude of other items filling the isles of every store. Why is that? Because everyone loves to spend money on the things they least need, but that they most want. Wants come before needs. That's a way of life, and one we learned from a very small child from watching our parents and other adults. Snacks are a must. Our wants come before our needs, and certainly before the needs of the needy.
Another form of snack that consumes great amounts of our money is alcoholic beverages and cigarettes. We know they're expensive and bad for our health. But after all, don't we deserve a break today?
Tell me, how many of the poor of this world could have a meal that might well save their life if they only had part of the money we spend on those essential snacks?
12Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee. 13But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: 14And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. (Luke 14:)
In church we're told that it's ok to have possessions, no matter how grand they might be, just as long as we're thankful for them. Look at the TV evangelists and you'll see they live by that code. Does this set right with you and your conscience? If it does, then you and I have a different source of conscience because mine tells me that I have way too much, and I'm sure if you're anywhere near the poverty level, you have way far more than I do.
5Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? (2Cor 13:)
How about you? Have you examined yourself? How do you measure up?
It's not my place to say how you should live, that's between you and God. Who am I (or anyone for that matter) to judge another man's servant. If God tells you to have great possession, then do it. To not do what you're supposed to do is a sin. I'm not trying to tell anyone how to live their life, but I am trying to get everyone to reevaluate their priorities and see if they're actually in line with their Christian beliefs. We all need to do this from time to time. And when we lose everything is an excellent time to do just that.
Ask any Christian, in fact, ask any non-Christian, if they care about other people. ask them if they have compassion on the poor, the starving, the needy. They, of course, will say they do. And of course you would say you do. What person worth their salt would say otherwise. My question to you is: How much do you care? How much will you sacrifice for those you say you care for? And even more to the point, those of you who are Christians, how will you answer that question when it's asked of you at the time of Judgement?
33So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:)
24Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. (Mat 16:)
10And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? 11He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. (Luke 3:)
2And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. 3And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece. (Luke 9:)
14What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? (James 2:)
14We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. 15Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. 16Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? 18My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth (John 3:)
44And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. (Acts 2:)
12Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. 13Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14Because strait ["Narrow from obstacles standing close by"] is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and FEW there be that find it. (Mat 7:)
23Then said one unto him, Lord, are there FEW that be saved? And he said unto them, 24Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, WILL SEEK to enter in, and shall not be able. (Luke 13:)
16So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but FEW chosen. (Mat 20:)
20Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein FEW, that is, eight souls were saved by water. (1Peter 3:)