One MCS - Annual Conference Highlights

Slippery places and eternal portion

Apr 2011    

“Money and material prosperity are slippery things themselves: here today and gone tomorrow, before you know it.”

LIVING IN FINANCIAL AND MATERIAL PROSPERITY is a rather slippery affair.

That was the revelation the psalmist received as he entered the sanctuary of God (Psalm 73). He had been secretly envious of those who had reached the top. It was troubling him because they had succeeded by what he knew were wicked (think of the twisted strands as in the “wick” of a candle) means. Yet as they arrogantly paraded themselves flouting even more decency, he wondered how God could have allowed them to carry on like that.

Then God showed him that He had “set them in slippery places … cast them down to destruction,” and that they would be “brought to desolation, as in moment!” (vv. 19, 20). Their fall is certain, but it would come suddenly.

Such has been the experience of some during the financial crisis of the past two years. ink not only of Bernie Madoff but also those who were willing to let him invest their money. Madoff recently said that the banks which invested with his company knew of the ponzi scheme he was running but were willing to go along because of the big bucks they could make. I am sure there are many more such stories on a smaller scale that have not made the headlines. All of them did not see the fall coming because they were walking on slippery places.

Money and material prosperity are slippery things themselves: here today and gone tomorrow, before you know it. Not that they are sinful in themselves. It is our attitude towards them and consequently what we do with them that really matters. We need money – to generate business, which will provide employment that will lift up the economic conditions of many, which in turn will result in increase in material possessions. As Scripture says, it is the love of money that is at root of the issue (1 Timothy 6:10). What troubled the psalmist was wealth and prosperity that had been gained by crooked means, not those acquired through honesty and hard work.

Even then we are told not to trust in money “which is so unreliable” (1 Timothy 6:17, NLT). at was the same conclusion the psalmist came to following the revelation he received. God is to be his eternal “portion”, a term denoting what a person normally receives as part of his inheritance.

The economy is now picking up again. Have we really learned this age-old lesson?

The Rev Dr Wee Boon Hup is the President of Trinity Annual Conference.

DEVOTION

Don’t upstage the One who should be the focus of our worship

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan, for it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’ ” – Matthew 4:10.

“A service designed to honour anyone or anything less than God is not worship. It is flattery at best, and idolatry at worst, for nothing less than the God of all the earth warrants our worship.”

MR GEORGE BUSH (THE SENIOR), who was always known for his dry wit, said this of his relationship with President Ronald Reagan:

“It’s important for a Vice-President not to upstage his boss, and you don’t know how hard it has been to keep my charisma in check.”

Sometimes I worry that as humans we try to “upstage” God in worship.

Who, after all, have we come to honour? Are we presenting ourselves to the community as the church with the “best” worship service? Are we trying to enliven the singing in order to keep our young people interested? Should this enterprise be considered successful if we all leave with a woosy feeling in our tummies?

Of course God has always been God. He has always been great beyond our imagination. He has always been near to us. It’s just that we sometimes miss Him because we are so busy trying to upstage the One who should be the focus and centre of our worship.

Worship is conducted on His terms alone, or it is not worship. A service designed to honour anyone or anything less than God is not worship. It is flattery at best, and idolatry at worst, for nothing less than the God of all the earth warrants our worship.

After all, we come to honour God, not the church. is Sunday morning, don’t upstage the Boss. Allow His warmth and righteousness, His will and Word be the lasting impression that is left on your heart. – KneEmail

Stan Mitchell contributes to KneEmail, a Christian resource organisation.

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