“And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?”
–Matthew 16:26 (NLT)
For over 2-and-a-half years, Timothy and I have been living in a manufactured house in Arizona. We’ve settled down nicely, and no matter how busy the daily routines of life became, we really appreciated living in a comfortable house.
About a week ago, we felt the first stirrings of the winds of change. My parents came over to see us, and they brought pizza and salad with them. This was a bit strange, since we usually eat out together, but Tim and I figured my parents just wanted to change things up a bit. It turned out they would be changing more than our dinner delivery that evening.
After we exchanged small talk for a while, Mom admitted, “We decided to eat at home because we wanted to have a talk with you two.”
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“Well, we’ve been your landlords for the past couple years, but now we think it’s time for a change,” Mom replied.
My mom and stepfather explained that the ownership and upkeep of our house cost them quite a bit of time and money. A few unforeseen health problems had occurred, which had set my parents back even more. Now they told us that they had come to a conclusion which they had been mulling over for some time. They had decided to sell, but they will help us move into a new apartment.
Surprisingly, Tim and I took the news quite well that night. Very little was said against my parents’ decision, and the evening ended on a rather exciting note: my parents would help us look at apartments that Saturday.
A day or two later, however, Tim and I had second thoughts during a discussion about the move. We understood my mom and stepfather had promised us the house for the rest of our lives. Now we wanted more information. Why were they suddenly putting it up for sale?
We emailed them a letter in which we asked a few polite questions. We soon learned about some repairs and other financial problems concerning the house which we hadn’t known about before. Despite our thoughts about keeping the house, we all decided that moving would be the best thing, in everybody’s intrest.
Just as we once thought we’d be living in our house permanently, this world we live in often promises us tantalizing things, like long-lasting pleasure or money. But setting your affections solely on material gain leads only to emptiness. Jesus put it this way: “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.”
Have you ever asked yourself what that means? As Timothy said last week, many of us worship people and things in this world more than they worship God, and that is largely due to a temporal perspective. Most of us act like we will live forever, but every single one of us is destined to die if the Lord doesn’t come back first.
What we consider treasure is only fool’s gold in reality, but we can experience true riches for eternity. As scripture says, we need to seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness, instead of earthly pleasures. The only true riches are those we find in our friendship with God, while our only truly permanent home is our home with Him.
While walking with God is not always easy, it is both fulfilling and long-lasting. Once He has you in the palm of His protective hand, He’ll never allow you to stray out of His sight. You’ll be a tender sheep within the fold of His loving and caring presence.
Tim and I pray that if you are not in God’s family yet, you will ask Him into your heart. If you ask Him, He will give you the desire to study His Word, learn all about Him, and prayerfully ask for His love and His forgiveness for your sins. God is ready and waiting to take you into His everlasting arms.
Timothy and I learned that our earthly home wasn’t permanent, but we know where our eternal home is, and we hope all of you will join us there!
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870. Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Monday night Bible study or Tuesday night prayer meeting. Both are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 5:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 712-432-6499. When prompted, press 1 for live chat rooms, and we’ll be waiting in room 31. You can press pound to bypass our friend Sharon’s intro message once you’ve entered room 31. We hope to talk with you soon!
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.