Value

Take heed, and beware of covetousness, for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. – Jesus, Luke [12:15], RSV 

In business, we are encouraged to develop a process that will provide self sustaining growth.  In part, our fallen nature wants this because we don’t want to actively follow the Lord.  We want, like the rich man in the familiar parable, to be at ease in the abundance of our crops.  Jesus said that this was a comfort that flows from deception. The main take away here is the view we get from the Lord on this guy’s psychological perspective.  It is from same chapter where He said that a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.  This is not the true measure of life, and we should not take security / comfort, or seek to them, in possessions.  The funny thing is, it is this exact deceptive worldview that the current age constantly seeks to reinforce to and upon us.

I am quite sure that there is much more of this kind of thing in my life than is visible to me.  Help me, Lord, to be free from this deception.  I want to be free from it’s influence, completely.  Perhaps you have led me to this truth for just that purpose.

So how do we actively follow the Lord in business, instead of taking comfort in possessions or earthly success?  Another way to evaluate this is to consider if you are disturbed by lack of possessions and success?  This comes from the same root.

Jesus said to a pharisee to “give for alms those things which are within” – the things of the heart, instead of focusing on getting all the portions right of all the herbs they were offering, rather yet focus on justice and the love of God… more flowers from the same plant.  We tend to place value on the things that have less true value and focus on them to the exclusion of the matters of the heart and the inner life, which have transcendent value.  It is deception to “take your ease; eat, drink and be merry in the ample goods you have laid up for many years.”  It is also deceptive to make that your goal.  What are you treasuring in your heart?  What our heart values gets our time and attention.

A funny twist on this, some want to earn enough money so we can “devote ourselves” to full time ministry.  This is a deceptive branch that spawns from the same root.  Jesus said that we shouldn’t be thinking about food, clothes, and natural material means, but rather occupy ourselves with the things that have lasting value…. He is talking about focusing on the stuff of the inner life, the stuff of Heaven!

Kathy and I were recently going for some exercise on a trail not too far from our home that we don’t usually frequent.  Once we got out there, we realized that we weren’t the only ones who had been avoiding this path, it was all grown over with the verge of summer, and lacked maintenance.  In a similar way, these truths about value that Jesus is trying to get across to us are neglected in our times.  The path they lay out is not broad with curbs and well maintained by the focused attention and devotion of lots of people.  It is a narrow way, the path of life, and few are finding it.

If in our businesses and occupations, we want to follow the Lord, we need to get this “value” thing right.  Today, I want to encourage you to consider true value, and begin to give your heart to it more fully to the inner life, and to the light of the Lord. Begin to devote time during your work week where you consider the value that Jesus acknowledges, that He promotes.  This may be the beginning of a process that will reorient your perspective and put you on a path to lasting value, the path of life.

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