And yet, at the same time, if that is true for ministers, how much more is that true for lay people (who greatly outnumber us). This is especially true in the materialistic culture in which we now live.
In a devotional titled “The Only Impression That Counts“, Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr. relates the story of George W. Truett, longtime Pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas from 1897 to 1944.
Once a wealthy oil tycoon thought he would try to impress Dr. George W. Truett with his great riches. So he invited the pastor to visit his sprawling property in Texas. He pointed to the acres of land in the north and said, “Pastor, as far as you can see in that direction, I own it.”
Then he pointed eastward and stated, “I also own everything you see that way.”
He showed the pastor the land to the south and east, again claiming to own everything within eyesight.
Dr. Truett waited until the businessman had finished, and then he raised his hand and pointed toward Heaven. He asked, “But how much do you have in that direction?”*
Ouch! That one hits a little close to home – for all of us, ministers and lay people alike! But then, once we understand that life consists of more than the material, we suddenly get Dr. Truett’s point!
Unless we have treasures in Heaven, no earthly riches will profit us. We can start laying up this treasure by understanding our spiritually bankrupt condition before God. Regardless of our financial wherewithal, we are all indebted to God because of sin. The only payment He accepts for sin is death (Romans 6:23a). We cannot give Him our property or riches to pay off this outstanding debt.
God knew this, and sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to Earth to pay the price for our sins through His death and shed blood on the cross. Three days later, He rose again from the dead, offering eternal life.
My friend, God isn’t impressed with your possessions. His heart will only be moved to cancel your sin debt when you accept His free gift. Put your trust in Christ today.
Brother Scudder then concludes his post with this most fitting quote by David Livingstone: “I will place no value on anything I have or may possess, except in relation to the Kingdom of Christ.”
Amen, sir. Well said!
NOTE: The story of Dr. Truett and his wealthy parishioner is available from multiple secondary sources online. Among them, the one primary source most often cited is the October 24, 1992 edition of Our Daily Bread. (Cf.: http://ourdailybread.org/.)
A collection of Dr. Truett’s actual sermons are available online at: http://digitalcollections.baylor.edu/cdm/search/collection/fa-gwt/collection/fa-gwt.