Matthew 16: MSG
25 Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self.
26 What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?
Luke 15: MSG
11 Then he said, “There was once a man who had two sons.
12 The younger said to his father, ‘Father, I want right now what’s coming to me.’ “So the father divided the property between them.
13 It wasn’t long before the younger son packed his bags and left for a distant country. There, undisciplined and dissipated, he wasted everything he had.
14 After he had gone through all his money, there was a bad famine all through that country and he began to hurt.
15 He signed on with a citizen there who assigned him to his fields to slop the pigs.
16 He was so hungry he would have eaten the corncobs in the pig slop, but no one would give him any.
17 “That brought him to his senses. He said, ‘All those farmhands working for my father sit down to three meals a day, and here I am starving to death.
18 I’m going back to my father. I’ll say to him, Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you;
19 I don’t deserve to be called your son. Take me on as a hired hand.’
20 He got right up and went home to his father. “When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him.
21 The son started his speech: ‘Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.’
22 “But the father wasn’t listening. He was calling to the servants, ‘Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
23 Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We’re going to feast! We’re going to have a wonderful time!
24 My son is here—given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!’ And they began to have a wonderful time.
25 “All this time his older son was out in the field. When the day’s work was done he came in. As he approached the house, he heard the music and dancing.
26 Calling over one of the houseboys, he asked what was going on.
27 He told him, ‘Your brother came home. Your father has ordered a feast—barbecued beef!—because he has him home safe and sound.’
28 “The older brother stalked off in an angry sulk and refused to join in. His father came out and tried to talk to him, but he wouldn’t listen.
29 The son said, ‘Look how many years I’ve stayed here serving you, never giving you one moment of grief, but have you ever thrown a party for me and my friends?
30 Then this son of yours who has thrown away your money on whores shows up and you go all out with a feast!’
31 “His father said, ‘Son, you don’t understand. You’re with me all the time, and everything that is mine is yours—
32 but this is a wonderful time, and we had to celebrate. This brother of yours was dead, and he’s alive! He was lost, and he’s found!’”
There are many lessons to be learned in the above portions of Scriptures.
- The destruction power of greed
- The Open Arms of The Father
- The Dangers of Focusing On Self
Every young person dreams of going out into the world securing a great job and making great lots of money. With that money buying all the things you think you need, like a car, nice clothes, comfortable place to live.
As a teenager I use to find part time jobs during the summer months so that I could buy some clothes for school and maybe some extras. My biggest problem was the more money I earned the more I spent, thinking little of saving some. I feel most teenagers do not give much thought to the subject of saving.
Eventually I left home, was offered a job working in an orchard pruning fruit trees and everything to do with that type of work.
I had just bought a used 1973 Ford Pinto to take me to work and back home. I soon found a small apartment nearer to my work. It only had one way to get to it and that was a flight of stairs. There was only one door to the apartment, so if I had to leave in an emergency the stairs were my only option.
The next few things on my to – do list was, getting furniture, stocking the fridge and other items needed to live. On my first grocery trip I got my groceries and headed for the check out. The cashier totalled my groceries, I paid for them, then looked at what money I had left until the next pay, It was barely enough to buy a coffee and put gas in the car. I stood there looking at the money and almost started crying. The cost of living hit me right between the eyes. No wonder as kids we were told ‘money doesn’t grow on trees’.
Not long after that I was asked by an evangelist to join his team as an organist/piano player and singer. Well the pay was better than working in the orchard, besides it was something I had prayed about doing since I can remember.
It wasn’t long before I began to fall into the greed of making money through the prosperity gospel. Soon the evangelist started to let me take some of the services. I would raise money during those meetings and the evangelist and I had an arrangement on the percentage of the money raised I could keep. Well, after some time I began to only care about how much money I could raise during any service.
I was changing into something I look back on with much regret. I was more concerned about money than I was winning people to Christ.
During my time with that evangelist I met all types of evangelists who preached the prosperity gospel and observed what was happening behind the curtains, sort of speaking.
The high cost of living at that time was my soul!
I now understand the words of Christ:
Matthew 7: MSG
21 “Knowing the correct password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance—isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills.
22 I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’
23 And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.’
I now look back on that with a broken heart and with a lot of regret.
Yes, you can gain the whole world but it will cost you greatly, the price is your very soul!
In the next article part two of “The High Cost of Living” I want to speak to the matter of jealousy and it’s corrosive power in a person’s life.