Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
October 13, 2013
The ultimate choice: people or possessions
Read the teachings of Jesus and you realize that Jesus understood the human predicament. It is the same in every generation: a tug-of-war between people and property. To live in the kingdom of God one must learn to value people more than possessions.
We who follow Jesus speak of him as our example. The gospels reveal a Jesus who valued individuals more than things. Jesus, for example, never owned fine china or stainless steel silverware. He invested in people rather than property.
There is peril as well as power in property. If a church uses its resources primarily to acquire more property then maintenance may soon consume the mission of God. If, however, a church invests in people, to persuade “whosoever will” that they are loved by their Creator, then the battle of mission over maintenance may be won.
Jesus teaches us that God wants us to value the eternal more than the temporary. Desire determines destiny. What we do, how we live, the choices we make, the values we embrace – all of these determine our destiny. Each of us is free to choose but none of us can love both money and God. This Jesus makes plain. He says we “cannot” serve both God and money. “Cannot” is not vague. Jesus leaves no middle ground.
The danger for some of us is that we don’t really believe what Jesus says – not enough to actually practice it in daily living. We comingle riches with righteousness and hope that God will ignore our divided loyalty. The good news is that we have an alternative; we can change the way we live. Sometimes God motivates us to change by putting people in our lives who truly love people more than things.
Some years ago I met “Mama KuKu,” a retired missionary to Africa who had served there forty years with her medical doctor husband. She was 80 years old. Her husband was dead. She had no home and drove a very old car someone had given her. But her spirit was captivating. She had nothing of this world’s goods, yet she had everything! She radiated with contagious enthusiasm and love. Mama KuKu never spoke about her favorite silverware or china. Her possessions could all be loaded in the old car she drove. The only thing she wanted was a chance to share her love for her Lord Jesus.
People like Mama KuKu are rare. But there is a nagging wake-up call in meeting such a person. God seems to drop one here, and one there, as though to remind us that life can be lived on a simpler level where people matter more than investments and things. I reckon Mama KuKu is in heaven now but the memory of her Christlike countenance reminds me that I need to do a better job of following the example of Jesus when it comes to people and possessions. + + +