Last year, my son Stevie was asked to write about how he knew that his parents loved him. He responded that we tell him and show him by giving him hugs and kisses. He also mentioned that we spend time with him and take care of him. I like his definition, and it made me think about my relationship with Christ. By the young Stevie Lack standard, does it seem like I love Christ more than I love my stuff?
First, how do I love Christ with my words? Do I praise Him in song and in prayer? Yes, but not as I ought. Do I praise Him openly to others and with exuberance, as one who is overflowing with gratitude for the one who has purchased me at the expense of His Son? I fall pitifully short here. When I think about the content of my conversations with others, believers and nonbelievers alike, I know it more often addresses “stuff” than God. To be sure, I don’t run around with a megaphone professing my love for money, but I do talk a lot about things that are purchased with money. Even more, I can sure complain when material objects break or wear out or when I feel I have a lack of money. I need God’s forgiveness for not telling Him, and especially others, how much I love Him, and I need His grace to loose my lips so that people will clearly hear whom it is I serve. I also need Him to help me bridle my tongue, which can lead me into frequent unfruitful conversations about money, or the things purchased with it.
So far, I have been found guilty of wasting too many of my words on finances and material “stuff.” What about time and care? When I look at my schedule, do I spend more time and care attending to my job and its needs or to my relationship with Christ? Does it bother me more if I am struggling to meet a deadline more than if I am struggling to meet in quiet fellowship with Christ each day? I in no way am trying to imply that we should not work heartily, as unto God. The Bible tells us to do so, and we need to be responsible. However, if my time and efforts to please my boss (and procure money) are greater than my efforts to spend time with the one I claim to love above anyone and anything else, there’s a problem. I am guilty here too. Thanks be to God, who provides forgiveness and new mercy every morning, for I need to confess that my tie to finances and material goods, though they are temporary and have no eternal value, often occupy my time and efforts more than my Lord.