DECEITFULNESS OF WEALTH

When Jesus was explaining the parable of the sower to his disciples (Matthew 13:18-23) he used this phrase, the deceitfulness of wealth, when speaking of those who represent the seeds falling among the thorns.  In Matthew 13:22 Jesus said, “The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word making it unfruitful.”  This phrase caught my attention as I read through the passage, and I thought it worth a more in-depth look.

I frequently like to refer to The Message to expand a passage.  Here’s how verse 22 reads, “The seed cast in the weeds is the person who hears the kingdom news, but weeds of worry and illusions about getting more and wanting everything under the sun strangle what was heard, and nothing comes of it.”  (I love The Message.)  The words deceitfulness and illusions both give indication of something that is not really there.  We are lead to think there’s something there, but it is a deception.  Here in America, I believe the deceitfulness of wealth hinders us from fully participating in God’s kingdom.  Perhaps it is our greatest deception.

I remember, when my youngest daughter returned from a mission’s trip to Mexico, she was deeply impressed by how happy the people were in the village where she stayed.  She said to me, “Dad they live in shacks and have nothing, yet they are always cheerful and happy.”  It was a great experience for her.  She had the opportunity to realize that possessions don’t bring happiness.  It’s a deception.

As we celebrate this Christmas season let us not fall subject to the deception that it’s about getting more.  We already have what we need, Jesus.  We are celebrating God coming to earth, living among us, and giving his life for us.  What else could we need?  JOY TO THE WORLD!  THE LORD HAS COME!

Celebrating Christmas

With the advent of Christmas we celebrate the greatest event that ever happened on the earth:  God entering time and taking on human flesh.  He spent time as one of us.  He walked beside us, and with his eventual death and resurrection, brought new and eternal life for all who would receive him.  This is worthy of celebration.  No other event on earth has stirred the hearts of men to such joyous celebration.  People all-over the earth celebrate this wondrous occasion.

Our joining in celebration helps us focus on something bigger than our individual lives; something more real than the temporal.  Celebration sets a mood of happiness and oneness.  I remember singing in a community choir.  Yes, the usual human difficulties were present during rehearsals, but when the performance came we were a unit of celebration.  Our hearts were lifted.  We experienced a oneness of joy and delight.

God wants us to enter into the celebration.  The angels celebrated that first night when Jesus was born, and we have ever since celebrated with them.  Let us continue the celebration of Jesus’ birth and the wonder of God’s plan for our salvation begun that glorious night.

                   A promise has been fulfilled

                   A reclamation for all the earth

                   A virgin has brought forth child

                   A most miraculous birth

                   A prophesy from ancient times

                   A hope that’s now achieved

                   A salvation realized

                   A redemption for Adam’s seed.

God bless you, and have a Merry Christmas!