WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, August 01, 2022 - HEAVENLY MINDED, EARTHLY GOOD!
WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, August 01, 2022
Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is Luke 12:13-15 which says,
13 Someone in the crowd said to [Jesus], “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
HEAVENLY MINDED, EARTHLY GOOD!
In an inflammatory 2004 article in The American Prospect, Robert Reich wrote,
The true battle [in the 21st century] will be between modern civilization and anti-modernists; between those who believe in the primacy of the individual and those who believe that human beings owe their allegiance and identity to a higher authority; between those who give priority to life in this world and those who believe that human life is mere preparation for an existence beyond life.
Amazing. Now believing in God (which also means that God will have the final say about our lives) and striving to live virtuous lives are considered by some to be reprehensible ideas and a threat to modern culture. One can almost hear this sneer against Christian believers: “They are so heavenly minded that they are of no earthly good!” “Modern” people supposedly realize that eternal questions have nothing to do with daily questions, and that the “here and now” issues are the most important ones anyway.
I think that view of life is similar to the motivation of the person in Luke chapter 12 who came out of the crowd and challenged Jesus to answer an inheritance question. It’s as if he were saying, “Hey Jesus, I know that this stuff between God and me is important, but what about my inheritance? What about my brother giving me what I deserve right now? What do you say about that?” Perhaps his approach to Jesus was, “I like the spiritual things you have been talking about, but now let’s deal with something that really matters.” (One can hear a lot of Robert Reich and his ilk in these sentiments, right?)
It’s interesting that Jesus doesn’t get sidelined by the question. Instead, in Luke 12:16-21, He proceeds to tell a parable about a man who has everything in place for himself this side of heaven. You might say that the man in Jesus’ story was too earthly minded because he had an abundance of what he needed. All was surely well for him, right? People in Jesus’ day, like many today, tended to assume that wealth and prosperity were a sign of God’s favor. But God refers to the wealthy man as a “fool” (12:20). Jesus says that he passes away that very night and then God demands an eternal accounting of his earthly life. The implication of Jesus’ parable is that this man is found wanting in regard to eternal things, and all of his earthly abundance was of no help to him when it mattered most. Jesus concludes with this warning: “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God” (12:21).
So, what’s the point? The point is that our eternal perspective on life should lead us to be both heavenly and earthly minded. Our faith in Jesus Christ, our receiving of His mercy and grace, realigns us in our relationship with God, and that eternal realignment affects how we live life here on earth. If you understand the proclamation of salvation by grace alone through faith in Jesus, it changes everything, both now and forever. Spend time with God in His Word; immerse yourself in His eternal perspective on your life. I know that it will change the way that you look at things here and now as well.
By the way, those who give proper consideration to eternal things are also empowered by God to live more purposeful lives here and now. Sorry, Mr. Reich, but when you focus on what matters eternally, then things like family, friends, work, leisure, community, and service all begin to take their proper place in our lives precisely because our relationship with God, by faith in Christ, is certain and sure. Faith towards God and fervent love towards are neighbor -- that’s a dynamic, “heavenly minded/earthly good” way to live, both now and forever.
PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, give me Your perspective on my life. Then teach me to value Your wisdom and guidance in both the eternal and the temporal things of my life. AMEN.
 Ramesh Ponnuru, “Robert Reich’s Religion Problem,” National Review Online, July 6, 2004
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