Thursday, February 5, 2009


Years ago, during my first week of seminary, Pastor Tommy Nelson spoke in chapel on "12 Landmines of the Ministry." It was a series of messages that have shaped my subsequent ministry and thinking about the church more than anything else outside of the Bible. One of the 12 landmines was the love of money. I could hardly believe he was even bringing it up. After all, to a person his audience was filled with people who didn't have any money to love.

But it is a landmine. And it's one that I have stepped on more than once, as I suspect most people, and most pastors have. It's so easy to have the deepest desires of our hearts be centered around the pursuit of more-more stuff, more exotic and better vacations, more and better restaurants, and so wearyingly on.

I've been thinking about that a lot this week as I prepare to preach on the discipline of simplicity. Because while I am far from being wealthy, God has provided much more than the basics of life for my family and I. In fact, if it really came down to it, we could live rather well on much less, albeit not without some major readjustments (selling our house and moving to a smaller one, selling my truck, etc.). I suspect the same is true not just for pastors like me, but for most other people I know. So why the discontented feelings at times? Why the constant longing in our hearts for the "new and improved," version 2.0 of our lives and our stuff? Why the problem following a man who had no place to lay his head?

At the root of it, I think, is the fact that our desires our fundamentally disordered by our sin. And so we are frequently willing to trade our faithfulness to God for service to Stuff, not realizing that there is more to want out of life than simply better stuff.
Father, help me to find freedom from slavery to my stuff. Help me to realize there is more to want out of life, and to find the rest my restless heart desires in Your presence. Amen.

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