As a pastor of a church from time to time I get phone calls from people who are in need -- or at least they think they are in need. I personally have a problem giving to the "poor" when some (not all) of the "poor" spend what money they do have on things that they just don't need - cigarettes, alcohol, lottery tickets, and so on.
Dorcas and I once heard of a lady who was hurting for rent money. She had some money, but decided she could go bowling. By the way, there are children in that family. It is evident to me that some do not have a correct set of priorities. There are basic needs we all must strive for, and therefor these should be a priority -- water, shelter, food, financially reasonable clothing, and heat.
However, there is a realm above that which most people forget, ignore or even despise. It is the matter of eternal issues.
Personal salvation from hell should be at the top of our list and that, of course, can only be obtained through the grace of Jesus Christ. I works will just not do. In Matthew 19:16-21, Jesus brought out three aspects of this personal relationship with Him when one asked Him, "Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?" Jesus responded he should keep the commandments and noted the ones whereby we render service to God and man.
He also told the man, who was rich, to sell what he had and give to the poor. By selling these things he would sever his attachment to them.
Christ also expected surrender. He said, "come and follow Me."
It is these three priorities, serving, severing, and surrendering, that are lacking in the lives of many today who name the Name of Christ.
Aye, it's a tough thing to do, but Jesus Christ did first and He did it for us. Once He lives inside of us, He helps us to follow through with these three priorities.
Though we lose earthly treasures, we gain heavenly ones that will last for eternity. Pray, and let the Holy Spirit help you to know if your priorities are correctly set. You will gain a holy satisfaction in your soul.
As a side note, some, like Jehovah's Witnesses, will point to our Lord's words in 19:17, "..."Why callest thou Me good? There is none good but One, that is, God," to try to state He is not God. On the contrary! It proves He is God, for He said in John 10:11 and 14 that He is the Good Shepherd.
If you read the Gospel of John you will see that the Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.
We, indeed, should have the same priority in regard to Him. As you can see from the passage in Matthew, the rich man was lacking that commitment, the correct set of priorities. If you are not truly committed to Jesus Christ, think of what He has done for you, and ask Him to give you the desire to make Him the number one priority in your life.
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