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Chapter 5 - Is it Possible That We Are Actually Rich?
While we usually think about 'those' rich people and how difficult it is for 'them' to respond to the life that Jesus calls them to, we need to remember that the biblical admonitions regarding riches apply to anyone who elevates their possessions and even desires over God.
We might not be guilty of active hostility towards God. We might not be so smug and arrogant as to think we have no need of God. However, we may find that we are too busy to spend much time in his word, seeking out and knowing brothers and sisters in Christ to see if they have any needs to which we can minister, or seeking out older and wiser Christians from whom we can learn to grow more fully into the image of Christ.
And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. - Luke 11:7
If we are reluctant to be inconvenienced when asked, how much more unlikely that we would actively seek out those who might need our ministry. The rich young ruler was reluctant to surrender his wealth. Are not we similarly reluctant to surrender our time to minister to others or expend the effort to seek out those from whom we might learn and grow. The riches of Nebuchadnezzar are obvious. However can we equal his sense of self-sufficiency with what we possess.
We can hoard our time and effort as stingily as the worst miser grasps his gold. God can use drastic measures to call back those who have become so woven into the fabric of the world that they have become almost useless for the work the Lord would have for them. Getting laid off, losing a house to foreclosure, being unjustly accused, or having health problems are all ways God can use to turn us away from that to which we cling.
And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. - Hebrews 12:5
Self-assessment and reflection are good ways to avoid any corrective methods the Lord might employ to gain our attention as well as determine if we have followed riches away from God. If we include how we use our time as well as our attention, we may come to find that we have 'riches' of which we had little awareness.
Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it. - 2 Corinthians 13:5a AMP
We need to pay attention to our Christian life particularly in regard to where we fall short. Rather than reflexively disregarding consideration that warnings and admonitions about riches can apply to us as well as the 'rich', we should seek of the Lord to bring to our mind that which needs correction.
For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. - 1 Corinthians 11:31
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