Handle with Care

child-weapon

Matthew 6:31-33  “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Ever wonder about giving a child something that can be useful, but that can also be harmful? When is a child old enough to have a sharp knife at the dinner table, or his own jack knife? When is it safe to let him or her use matches? When is a teen old enough to drive a car on the freeway? The law may set a minimum age to bring some order and common sense to the issue, but many parents I know have set a later date for their teen than the one the state allows.

We can readily see that material wealth is useful. It may not be so clear to us that it is also highly dangerous. Scripture is full of warnings about the damage money and possessions threaten to do to our souls.  “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap, and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.” “Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

And yet, in spite of the danger, God has trusted us. When you consider the wealth of the people reading these words, it staggers the imagination. We live in homes or apartments that are cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Many of our families have two or more cars. We have enough clothing to wear something different every day for weeks on end if we wanted to. Televisions, cell phones, Ipads, refrigerators so stuffed with food that we throw much of it away, even though we can keep it for weeks.

And in spite of our failures, God still loves us. I may have a hard time desiring his kingdom over the cheap baubles I spend my time chasing. I may struggle to trust his promise to feed and clothe me. But that hasn’t stopped him from giving up his Son to redeem me. That neither limits nor lessens the forgiveness he offers me. A whole kingdom of life and love, bliss and blessing, is still waiting at the end of my earthly journey. It is the gracious gift of a Father whose love for us cannot be repressed.

Our Thanksgiving holiday focuses especially on the material blessings that come from the hand of our generous Lord. But even as we give thanks for them,  let’s keep them in their proper place and remember the greater promise Jesus offers.

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