Material, but not Material
I was working with two of my sons the other day, and thinking about how I have two aims in life. Not only two aims, but two aims in relation to my children, and myself.
The older I get the more I realize that I am only here for a short time. Statistically speaking, I'm about half way finished. Death is coming. It's just what happens. I've watched loved ones die; some in old age, some at a younger age, and some completely unexpectedly.
When death comes, life is over. It doesn't matter what I accumulated here on earth. It doesn't matter how much money I made working an extra job that one day. It doesn't matter how much land I had. It doesn't matter how many square foot my house was, or how vintage my pickup truck was.
What matters at that point is what I did for Yahweh my entire life. Salvation is by grace, yes, but grace is not a license to live as I please (Romans 6). I'm bought with a price, so I'm to live for my Master. I'm to live in such a way that when someone sees me they know that I'm a child of Yahweh.
Plus, there are rewards in the kingdom of heaven. Yeshua talked about some people being great in the kingdom (Matthew 5:19). I believe that's what Paul spoke about in 1 Corinthians 3. What you do has an impact on whether your reward will be big or small. And it's all about spiritual matters and obedience to the commandments. My earthly possessions do not equal great rewards. My spiritual discipline will.
So if this is what I'm really to live for; if this is my goal, why am I busying myself with working so hard for material gain? Well, I could stop here and say it's all for nought, but that wouldn't be taking all the Bible teaches into account.
For starters, I'm told to provide for my family (1 Timothy 5:8). I'm told to labor for six days each week (Exodus 20:8-11). I'm told to work if I expect to eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10). I'm told that a good man leaves an inheritance to his grandchildren (Proverbs 13:22), and I'm given righteous examples of men that had houses, lands, and riches, but used all of it for the glory of Yahweh (Abraham, Job, David, etc.)
So that's why I work hard for material things. Not because I don't love Yahweh, but because I love what He has told me to do. He's told me to take care of my family, and even look into the future for my grandchildren. I want to leave something for these sons of mine that work hard beside me. I want to make sure my wife is provided for. I want all my children to be able to say, "Daddy loved Yahweh, and he was also a hard worker."
In the end, what you did for Yahweh is all that matters, but that doesn't mean providing for your family is of no concern. That *is* Yahweh's work, in the sense that you aren't working to "keep up with the Jones'," but instead to make sure your loved ones are taken care of, both now and in the future.
This life is not about the material, but also is about the material, in different senses. So long as we don't confuse the senses, we'll be okay.
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Blog by Matthew Janzen. Lover of Yahweh, Yeshua, my wife and 5 children. All else is commentary.