Followup on the Circuit Assembly
Of course, there were many good parts and points on the program. However, there was one talk in particular that we really enjoyed, and thought was good advice for all of us. This next bit is based on the notes I have from that part- not our own ideas.
Reject "Strange Teachings": Build Bigger Storehouses
People always want "More." More house, more stuff to fill said house, a new car, a new phone, new clothes....and so on. Interestingly, in the Bible, the word "More" is related to greediness and covetousness. Now, most of us probably don't think of ourselves as greedy or covetous, but could we be that way and not realize it?
The idea of building bigger storehouses comes from Luke 12:16-21. This is the illustration of the rich man whose land produced well and he decided to store up his things and then "take it easy, eat, drink."
The man felt that after working hard and obtaining many things, he would be comfortable and could take it easy. You may notice that he had only begun to reason to himself, he had not started to act on it yet. His plans would only provide a false sense of security; it may have seemed practical to him, and yet God called him unreasonable.
Something that I hadn't fully realized before about this illustration is that the man was already rich. He already had many storehouses, and they were already full of "good things." This man had a lot materially. But he still wanted more.
Ultimately, his plans- and his possessions- did him no good. All the time spent on those, and that night he lost his life.
This begs the question- Are we rich toward ourselves or toward God?
Imagine being able to pioneer for the rest of your life, but holding onto possessions out of a false sense of security. How sad is that.
1 Timothy 6:7,8 talks about being content with food and clothing. The thought was brought out that it's not always a matter of "Can I afford this item?" It's of being content with what we have and keeping kingdom interests first.
The question was also asked: Are we content to wait on Jehovah to satisfy our desires?
We should be happy with whatever Jehovah chooses to give us.
Ok, now this is our thoughts.
We can compare the illustration of the rich man to plans that we might make. We may feel we need to take care of certain financial and material "needs" before we can do more for Jehovah, but are those things really necessary? Is buying a house really going to help us serve Jehovah? Do we really "need" that new, huge ______? Chances are, the answer is no.
Even if we try to reason that those things are necessary or might help us serve more fully in the future, is the goal of obtaining that item going to keep you from serving more right now?
Zach and I are so inspired by the friends we meet down here. Often they are in financial/material situations that seem impossible. But you don't hear them complaining about it. Instead, they have a smile on their face and are out in the ministry regularly. Are they stressed by their situation? Probably. But that isn't their focus. It really helps put things into perspective for us.
Many of the friends who are missionaries and need-greaters could be making money and securing a 'future' for themselves back home. Instead, they leave the 'security' of that 'comfortable' life, and do just what they need to get by. They don't have all the fancy stuff, and they don't have many things that people sometimes think they couldn't live without. But you know what, they are a lot happier, a lot less stressed, and it turns out- you can live without those things. They have amazing experiences, get to travel to incredible places, and have a life many of us can only imagine. Plus, the employer health package is awesome and their 401k won't decrease in value.
One thing we have learned is that you don't have to have it all figured out before you make a change. Yes, you do need to count the cost (Luke 14:28) before doing something, but you can't wait for the perfect circumstances to occur, because that might never happen. You can't worry about "What will happen three years from now if I do this?" because you might miss the opportunity you have right now. Matthew 6:34 says "Never be anxious about the next day, for the next day will have its own anxieties." If you trust in Jehovah and put him first, it will work out. We have seen so many amazing examples of this.
Ultimately, what will you regret more: not Pioneering/RBC/Serving where the Need is Great/Etc (even if it's only for a short period of time) or not having that shiny new _____ and the bills that go with it?
As we said, food for thought for all of us. We really appreciated that part of our Assembly, and wanted to share what we got out of it.
Next post: Service Experiences