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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Squandering Opportunities

People make trade-offs all the time. They trade time at work for time at home. They trade time in school for leisure time. Many people fail to realize that these trades make significant impacts as time passes. Time is an investment. The failure to invest it wisely will have a significant impact on the life of the individual and those who surround that individual.

A young man graduates from high school at eighteen and goes to work in a widget factory. His off-time is spent playing Halo 3 and sitting in bars. He marries, has a child and things go somewhat well for him until widgets are replaced with whatsits. The factory closes. He is left unemployed but diligently looks for a job. His skills sets are: building obsolete widgets, playing Halo 3 and drinking in bars. How many people will want to hire him for anything other than the lowest of jobs?

There is nothing wrong with getting a job building widgets. It is an honest and honorable profession but it has a shelf life just like everything else manufactured. Thus, the only way to prepare adequately for the future is found in training for the future. Playing Halo 3 and sitting in bars is time squandered which could have been used for training for the future.

I have heard people say that many very rich people didn't get college degrees. That is true but it doesn't mean that they weren't either self-trained or that they weren't always using their time wisely experimenting (and are, thus, trained by their experimentation). They invested their time and money wisely and it had a significant return. Their skill sets were much more than playing Halo 3 and sitting in bars.

I have also heard of people saying that God will supply. They often take Matthew 6:33 completely out of context and claim that God will give them everything they need as long as they do absolutely nothing. That wasn't Jesus' point! He was trying to tell His followers to stop worrying. He wasn't telling them to stop working or preparing for the future.

These people are of the same ilk as those who quote Philippians 4:13 and claim that they can do things that they have no training for. I ask you: Would you like to have someone whose only claim to proficiency is that verse perform surgery on you? No! You want someone who is trained!

One of my daughters is a doctor. She got a college degree before attending medical school. She is in her third year of her residency in anesthesiology. She has one more year before she can even start paying off her debt. It has been very tough. She works an incredible number of hours in the hospital dealing with all aspects of her training. She is in an amazing amount of debt too. However, her time and money will be rewarded as soon as she completes her training. And, yes, that training took twelve years!

I guy once told me that he didn't have the opportunity to go to college to do what he wanted to do. He had to go to work because he wasn't "born with a silver spoon in his mouth." This is the attitude of those who don't understand that you can do both. You can work and get the training you need. It is very hard. It means trading sleep for studying. It means very little leisure time for some measure of time.

I remember studying until midnight and getting up to drive a city bus while I was in seminary. I was so tired but the blast of cold air with the opening of the door for each new passenger kept me awake. I knew that this wasn't my future. It was just what I had to do to be able to do what God had called me to do. I know there were those who didn't have to work while attending seminary. I wasn't one of them. It was an amazing blessing!

So, don't squander your resources. Your time and money are gifts from God which need to be used wisely. Remember the ant.

 Proverbs 6:6-11 (NIV)
6 Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! 7 It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, 8 yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. 9 How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? 10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest-- 11 and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.

13 comments:

Evert Heskes said...

Where is the love in this article? There are people who through no fault of their own are not able to take the opportunity to better themselves. Maybe their taking care of a parent. Maybe they aren't very smart and they can't use the opportunity. Maybe they are disabled or mentally handicapped.

I think that what your daughter is doing is a good thing and I hope she excels at being a doctor. But what if she gets sick (God forbid) and has a hard time working. Who is going to pay her debt? It won't pay for itself and in fact might get to the point where it is unmanageable.

Your daughter is studying anesthesiology and I know if that is not done right someone could die. What happens if somebody develops a medical breakthrough that makes anesthesiology obsolete. Won't this then become another out of date widget?

What I believe is that God will provide opportunities for everyone, and what God wants you to do, he will equip you to perform it until he asks you to do something else.

My advise to everyone is "seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

Your blog as often spoken to me and challenged me and I look forward to reading it.

Regards,
Evert

Prentis said...

So, are you saying that those who are playing Halo 3 and spending time at bars should simply expect to suddenly turn everything over to God and expect him to provide a load of goods? Are you saying that people should never prepare for the future? Do you not see that God has told us to forget worrying but go to work? God has given us the grace to serve Him completely and prepare for our future. If that isn't love I don't really understand love.

Evert Heskes said...

I don't agree with this persons choices but I do see that he was working and through no fault of his own he is now without a job. I also see that he is diligently trying to find work.

The lack of love comes because you are saying he should have made better choices in the past. My comment was only to show that he might not have been able to take advantage of opportunities as they came along. I also tried to point out that even when we do take advantage of opportunities that come along, that they don't always work out.

I completely agree with you that we should work if we can.

I do feel that if we are a christian we should look to God to create or lead us to opportunities that will allow us to work. A load of goods is not what God is about.

Prentis said...

We always live in God's love. Our circumstances are always known by God. Obeying Him is always the right answer. Listening to Him is always right. God speaks to us through His word and Spirit. Those aware of this often do things that they cannot explain until later. I have often prepared myself for things I didn't expect to use. I have always wanted to learn and have spent extra time doing so even when I didn't know how it could ever be used. The person who isn't learning something new is squandering his opportunities. Not all circumstances result from squandering but many of them do. Those who continue to "buy up every opportunity" of time have greater opportunities than those who squander their time. God uses the story of the "ant" to reveal this.

high-expressions said...

I wrote this, after reading the 1st comment by Evert Heskes, and the 1st reply comment from Ps Prentis, but before I could post this written comment of mine, both Evert Heskes and Ps Prentis had posted additional comments. Nevertheless, I am posting my comment without change.

I believe we need to have a sense of perspective, neither Ps Prentis nor Evert Heskes was particularly wrong, but it is a little heavy to question where is the love in Ps Prentis' ditching out of this article.

In the first place, if we are truly in line with God, when we devout time to write or tell others to be careful of skewed teachings or to consider changing their viewpoint(s) or ways, we are acting in love for God and God's Word, and in love for the persons, or men, generally. People like Ps Prentis and I write extensively on the internet, NOT to promote ourselves or to generate "hits" so that we could sell some product; we give of our time and energy, which we (or I) could have used to generate more material gains for ourselves. I take to writing on the faith on the internet, because for some years now, I have found the internet is full of writings of the faith by people who either know very little about the faith, or they are of heretic theologies; leading the internet being a storehouse of erroneous Christian doctrines. One of my aims is to provide alternative views to subjects of the faith which have too much misguided views. Of course, I would like my views to be all correct, but that is NOT something for me to claim, but for the Lord to evaluate and guide, and for others to assess. I try to be as diligent as I can, (I still hold down a secular job, and am a single parent to 2 teenage children) in my writing, meaning I study the Word, and research a little, and more importantly, my attitude is for the Lord to write through me. I am sure Ps Prentis shares the same.

So, we need to be clear about our motive, and I believe all of us, Ps Prentis, Evert Heskes, and myself, we are above board on this.

As to whether or NOT the content of our entries or articles is showing forth, love, one have to consider the definition of love, one is referring to. We endeavor to love people with the love of God. And so, we need to have some idea, of the kind of love God loves with. I would like to point out that the Greek word of love, "Agape" is adequate, but NOT sufficient to describe the love of God; it was the best love word of the Greek (there are a few love-words in Greek) to be used, though. The Hebrews, because of their historical ties with God, has much richer portrayal of the love of God in their word for love. We all like the main attribute in the Agape, the "unconditional". Yes, unconditional love; wow, it is so good.

But is the love of God nothing but unconditional love? What is unconditional love? Free love? Whatever I want, you give me; since I need merit it, NOT? Unconditional is NOT the only aspect of God's love. God revealed Himself over time to Man, and so, people should NEVER say Old Testament (OT) is irrelevant. Both OT and NT recorded the revelation of God, of Himself, including the idea of His love, along with many other aspects of Himself. The OT has in it, the revelation of the love of God as loving men unto righteousness. This is NOT in the NT's Greek word of love, Agape; but God does NOT change, and so, if in OT, He is of love unto righteousness, He is still with love unto righteousness, presently, even with the additional revelation of His love as also having a dimension of being unconditional.

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high-expressions said...

cont. from preceding page

There is a lot we do NOT understand about aspects of God, particularly of how all of those "hang" together. One thing, I believe, is of revelation from God, is that, the fundamental nature-attribute of God is holiness, and so, many, if NOT all aspects of God, be they, nature-attributes or personhood attributes (like Father, King, Creator, etc), are subject to the demand of holiness. Love, including the aspect of unconditionality and righteousness of it, are tied back to holiness of God.

I venture to say, if one cannot see the love of God for men as love unto righteousness, he cannot see the love in the content of such articles, like the one here, by Ps Prentis. It is a harsh, to say that, I know, for Evert Heskes to hear or read, but God's love and therefore our love, cannot be love unto irresponsibility, love unto laziness, love unto foolishness, love unto fruitlessness, and love unto "live and let live". And so, if we notice irresponsibility, as a brother's keeper, we speak out; if we notice laziness, we point it out; if we notice foolishness, we say it too, gentlely, as far as possible; if we notice fruitlessness, we want to encourage fruitfulness, and if we notice worldly living, we want to caution against it. As in any sermon, some people pick up a thing or two, some people don't, what is important, is that we discharge our brother's keeper role, which essentially is love in action. Of course, some of us, including myself, often do NOT do it skillfully, and we need to be open to the Spirit to guide us in this.

Now, when a father notices his son spending too much time playing with computer games, and drinking at pubs, and he tells his son, "Son, you are spending way too much time on these 2 pastimes of yours; you should cut back, and devote some time for planning and doing for the future", he is acting in love, and the kind of love here, is an example of love unto righteousness. Of course here, righteousness referred to, is the righteousness according to the father; devoting some time for planning and doing for the future, in that father's eyes, is a right thing to do.

As Christians, we, of course, should NOT be basing matter on our own righteousness, but the righteousness of God; and so, is devoting some time to planning and doing for the future, righteous according to God? How can we know? Well, either you ask Him and you hear from Him, or you go to His revealed righteousness and justice, which is His Word, given us.

Now, if the mother of the young adult in the above example, comes round, and said, "Oh don't mind your father, just continue to do what you enjoy doing, if it is computer games, you like, play them, if you enjoy sitting around at pubs and drinking the nights away, just continue to do that; I just want you to be happy", is she loving? Well, in her own eyes, perhaps; in her own righteousness, perhaps; but I do NOT think that is love unto God's righteousness.

And so, what is critical and is of contention here, is whether or NOT, devoting some time to planning and doing for the future agrees with God in terms of what He would like us to do, and in the time that He would like us to do; essentially, one angle to view the righteousness of God is just that. One is righteous with God when one is doing what God wants done, and at the time He wants done.

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high-expressions said...

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Love is NOT things said, being pleasant to the ears. Love is NOT things said, being easy to stomach, and love is NOT agreeing, per se. Love can be the opposite of all of that, and it is still love, and it can be love unto righteousness. So, is planning and doing for the future, part of the will of God for men, as they live on earth? If it is NOT, Ps Prentis is NOT loving his readers unto righteousness (God’s righteousness), and Evert Heskes is perfectly in order, to say, “Where is the love in the chastisement?”; but if it is, Ps Prentis is loving unto righteousness, despite Evert Heskes finding him somewhat condemning (condemning - my own interpretation).

When I was a little kid, I read and was told, the story of “the ant and the grasshopper”. In the story, the grasshopper just whiles away his time in spring, summer, and autumn, when the ant would spend some time in those seasons, looking for food and storing some up. When it came to winter, the ant was well and comfortable in its burrow, and has sufficient food to last the winter. The grasshopper could no longer play on his a little guitar, and soon found himself to be starving, and cold. The grasshopper came to the house of the ant, and knocked at the door. He begged the ant to give him some food, and to allow him to stay. But the ant replied him, saying, “But you said I was foolish to waste all the good sunshine, and what the world was offering, when I was working for my future, collecting some food, and constructing my home. Now, why don’t you go back to your basking, and what the world was offering you!” When I became a Christian as an adult, I realised the story has its origin in the Bible, and the passage is as given by Ps Prentis (Prov 6:6-11).

Then I also learned of this verse, 2 Thessalonians 3:10 - For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” Now, to me the message is simply this: the verse does NOT say, You don’t have to work, and afterwards, you get to eat still. Neither does it say, “You are to work and eat at the same time”. Rather it is saying, “You work, and then you get to eat”. In other words, you effort now, for “tomorrow”. What is that – planning and doing for the future, essentially. Of course, you can argue, “But we are talking about tomorrow’s tomorrow (future).” But, if it is NOT the same time, and it is NOT the past, it is the future! The truth or principle must be understood, the application is wisdom. When do you get paid, and so, have the means to buy food to eat? Some get paid the next hour, others, NOT until harvest! How far into the future should you consider? That would go onto the subject of wisdom. No matter what you say, future is in the vocabulary of God for us, as we live our earthly life. What is hope; what are you doing, accepting Jesus now? It is for that hope, and you are doing it for now and for the future. What already happened is no more hope; hope is talking about the future.

Interestingly, I gave “my mother’s story” of the wisdom of the toilet paper in my comment to Ps Prentis’ preceding entry, “Bad Time to make a terrible decision”. You might want to read it. Essentially, my mother used to say, “Son, you should NOT be looking for toilet paper after you have done your business, it should be before.” I said the wisdom there, was that we ought to prepare ahead, for we all will hit a “bad time” or a time of distress (no one exempted). It is planning and doing for the future.

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high-expressions said...

COnt. from preceding page

Instead of repeating the same here, let me tell what I used to do as a kid, living in a “village” near the sea, concerning this. I used to live in a saw-mill by the sea (my father worked in that saw-mill). The Company compound was like a village, the employees of the Company stayed there and worked there. But there were no toilets for individual homes. The toilet and the only toilet, to be used by everybody was a multi-rooms toilet-hut, built off-site at one corner of the huge sawdust hill overlooking the mangrove swamp. Yes, it is common toilet on stilt, but no one looked after it, you just do your business in one of the cubicles, and you know where your droppings go. Yes, down below, and later to be washed into the sea when the tide came in. It was a common toilet with no supply of toilet paper; you bring your own toilet paper.

But the toilet was way out, one to two hundred meters from the houses and the factory, and we, boys, just roamed the huge Company compound; and so, when suddenly if we wanted to go to the toilet for big business, we got to hurry to the toilet-hut. But what about toilet paper! I learn to “arm” myself with toilet paper in my pocket; I also learned to stash away, NOT “gold”, but toilet paper at strategic spots, so that when I needed it, I had it. Otherwise, what would you do, go unwiped! Or use the natural thing – leaves! Wisdom, men! But seriously what was I doing? Wisdom calls for a devotion of time to contemplate the issue (NOT worry), plan what to do (where do you want to hide the toilet paper; if you don’t hide it well, when you need it, it would not be there, stolen!), and go into action, for the future, so that I would NOT end up with shit in my pants!

Clearly, both the sets of verses, the one Ps Prentis quoted and the one I have given, speak about being responsible, being sensible, NOT being foolish, and NOT always living in the now (and of course, try NOT to be burdensome).

“In that case, isn’t the Bible full of contradictions!” Ah! May appear to be, for some, but actually NOT-lah. “But God said, Look at the sparrow, they neither sow nor reap, but the Heavenly Father PROVIDED for them, how much more would He NOT provide for you!” Or “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things would be added unto you.” Or did NOT the Bible say I could do all things in Christ Jesus. Or God has blessed us with all spiritual blessings we need. Or have NOT Scripture said NOT to worry about tomorrow. Didn’t Bible have the story of NOT building bigger barn for tomorrow? And blah-blah, blah, blah!

For one thing, I still say, more often than NOT, the Greek language was NOT that sufficient for the fullness of God’s meaning and intent, but bulk of the NT was written in Greek. When we look at the quotes in NT concerning the sparrow or the ravens, and also look up similar accounts or sayings in the OT, we realize there is indeed wisdom in the calling for using of principle of first or earlier mention, in Bible interpretation. For example, the “God provides”, in OT became “God feeds”. Some of the mature Christians are able to adjust for such linguistic aberrations, but many don’t. In fact, many, because of bombardments of related heretic teachings, may even picture “God feeds” as God has to eat it for you(!), when the picture of God putting the food into the mouth is bad enough!

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high-expressions said...

Cont. from preceding page

Let me illustrate with this: Did God NOT provide the spiritual food we need? What is an example of spiritual food? The Word of God, the Holy Scripture. So, do we have to do anything or NOT? Do you have to hear the Word or God has to hear for you? Do you have to read the Word yourself or God has to read for you? You have to study the Word, or is it God has to study it for you? How ridiculous we are at times, we NOT only expect God to provide, we expect God to hand-feed us, and worst still many expect God to eat it for them. What is wrong with us! Don’t laugh, many overly grace preachers with huge followings, are teaching that, “You don’t have to do a thing, you don’t have to help God, it is all His part, none of yours; you just sit tight, or should I say, just bask, and God will do everything!”

Look, God at times, would bring the food to the mouth, but more often than NOT, He does NOT; the birds still have to effort – fly around looking for the food God has provided. It is NOT they just sit on the tree, and food is dropped into their beaks or God eats for them! It is the same, when God provides for us, it does NOT normally be that we just do nothing and sit at home, playing computer games or be at the pubs drinking all nights long, and can expect God to bring in the job or the bacon. Occasionally, yes, the job or bacon drops into our lap, but it is NOT the norm. Why? The reason is simple, laziness, irresponsibility and foolishness are NOT ways of God or are of His righteousness and justice.

Do you know that there are overly grace believers out there, believing after their overly grace heroes of the faith, that they are fully and completely righteous that Matt 6:33 is NOT applicable to them; they do NOT need to seek the righteousness, and it is NOT a question of they will be (future) having the “all these things”. The verse is treated as either NOT applicable to them, or they have to delude themselves that they are with “all these things” from the moment they entered into salvation, for, to them, at that point, they achieved full righteousness. Christianity is NOT about, “I don’t see a piece of bread in my hand, but I shall NOT believe my eyes; I shall put this piece of “bread” into my mouth and chew on it, and I shall tell my stomach, “you are full!”, or should I say, “you are fooled”. This Matt 6 text on seeking first the righteousness of God is directed at believers; it is there, in the text (read the few verses around v33). I might add, “God said they would be added to us”; it does NOT have to mean, we do NOT have to do anything, just sit there and wait for the bread and meat to drop from the sky.

Now, even when bread and meat do fall from the sky (it did, in OT), the children of God had to fan out to collect them; it was work, and you know what, still some of the people were lazy to go pick the stuff every day, and wanted to “short-cut” the process, by bringing back a few days’ ration. It did NOT work! Now, in there, is also the answer for this issue we have on hand. The Israelites were “NOT able” to go and gather the day’s need on the day of Sabbath. What was God’s way? For that day, God said they could, on the day before the Sabbath, gather for the Sabbath’s portion, in additional to the normal one day’s ration. What is that? That is planning and doing for the future - If you had been going out there with 1 basket for one day’s ration, you got to plan how you are to bring back 2 days’ ration, and then go about executing that plan – say, bring 2 baskets or a bigger basket!

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high-expressions said...

Cont. from preceding page

By the way, the “all these things” of Matt 6:33 were referring to needs, NOT luxuries or the many wants, we want. “Added” to us, does NOT mean, you do NOT have to do anything and wait by the empty oven, and every 10 minutes, open up the oven door and see if God has put a turkey in there for you. It may mean you walk down the street, over to the employment bureau, and there you will find a job as a cleaner waiting for you; you take up that job, and with the money from the job, you can buy your family a turkey. You see, IF it is everyday affair, that God will just drop off bundles of money to you; and to him and to her, and to me, He will rightly be accused of printing money and causing inflation! Expect God to be working in the ordinary, and you will be extraordinarily surprised. Please, when there is a bridge, 10 meters on your left or right, for you to cross the river, don’t expect God to part the waters for you to cross, as a matter of norm, even though there were 4 recorded cases of God parting waters!

It is NOT fair to bring the disabled and the handicap to illustrate inability, suggesting effort is NOT needed. God only exerts what is appropriate for each and every case. Come on, if you are well and able, go and get some work done, if the handicap and the disabled just sit there with a bowl in their hands, must you also said you are entitled to that.

Now if God only demanded that this one handicapped fellow make his way to the subway’s side-walk, which would be effort already on this fellow’s part, what is it to you; in the words of Jesus, “You {just} follow me!”. If you, a wealthy millionaire, drop 2 copper coins into the offering bag, what effort is that, to God, but God does NOT hesitate to have it recorded that He was pleased with 2 copper coins from one who had nothing but 2 copper coins. Look, even in the many miracles recorded in Scripture, common was God’s asking of people to do something, even though they were NOT necessarily very difficult tasks (in actuality). Naaman, for example, was healed of skin disease, because he was in the end, willing to effort, in what was originally in his eyes, “a lousy piece of thing to do”, go dip in the “dirty” river.

Similarly, for the other verses, like, we can do all things in Christ Jesus, or God has blessed us with all spiritual blessings we need, we got to lay hold of the matter; and you do NOT lay hold of them by just basking, ordinarily. Gideon would NOT be known as the great hero, in Scripture, who defeated 36,000 with 300 men, if he had told God, “But can’t you just let me lay in my bed, while you fight the enemy. Anyway, it is you who would be doing the “things”, that I might win!” Please, there are parts, no matter they are small, that we are to do, or effort in, and then God may come in and work a victory.

Worrying about tomorrow, and planning and doing for tomorrow are NOT the same thing; the former, God said it is a futile thing to do, but the latter, God does NOT frown upon, unless He has something else in mind for you to do. I come back to my toilet paper experience as a kid. I don’t worry about my stashes of toilet papers, or that I would keep thinking that, the next day I would be caught with my pants down (Yah, without toilet paper, if you don’t want shit in your pants, you have to have it down!). If one stash appeared NOT enough, to start with, I had had 2 stashes. But if 2 stashes proved insufficient (got “stolen”), I could have 3, or change the locations or spots; that was it, I would be happily going about my other activities, like flying kites on the sawdust hill; I did NOT worry, and if I was caught without toilet paper, I improvised before bombing away! That is what we, as Christians, ought to do, plan and do for tomorrow, even when we are also focused on today and now, but do NOT worry. Tweak along the way; nothing wrong with that; I tell you a secret, your Heavenly Father does that all the time, tweaking real-time.

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high-expressions said...

Cont. from preceding page

I don’t know if the daughter Ps Prentis referred to, happens to be the one in Singapore or NOT, but I can tell you, requirement for medical personnel including the specific one mentioned by Ps Prentis, is only increasing in ageing Singapore. There is no let up in the next 15, even 20 years. We got to be honest with ourselves, if that daughter of Ps Prentis, even if she is NOT in Singapore, has to think she would be obsolete, in say, 15 years, she would be into worrying, and that would NOT be right. There is nothing wrong with truths and principles, as ways of God, in Scripture; it is that we need to acquire the wisdom to apply them in our lives.

Often I say, it is NOT we are balancing a truth of God, it is that many truths are at the same time applicable and applying in our lives, we need to apply common sense and wisdom. In addition, Scripture does exhort the knowing of time and season, or even signs of changing times. I mean, after sometimes, we could be able to discern the sign of the cassette tapes or the floppy disks were coming to a demise, but if you are in that line, making those things, and you refused to plan and do something for the future, you would be in trouble. Now, for the profession that Ps Prentis’ daughter is engaged in, the profession, perhaps would NOT be obsolete, but new inventions and breakthroughs could come forth, and she would have to, in due time, consider catching up on changes in her profession.

I am an Accountant from the early 1980s’ graduation, but I tell you, the work of an Accountant is NOT gone, but there had been many changes in the standards and requirements in the profession, some of which, I just could NOT keep up with, and there is no point for me to catch up with them when they are concerning very specialized industries which I would NOT see myself working in them, as an accountant. See, a balance is needed, I cannot be paranoid and want to catch up with all the changes, that would be worrying, and that would NOT be practical, for it would consume too much of my time.

Common sense and wisdom, and understanding of changing times do need to be called into play, and when we have narrowed down the choices, which we could often easily do, for the remaining, which we aren’t sure, which specific ones to select or focus on, we should bring the matter before the Lord, or even to professionals and godly counselors. There is always different “ pulls” on our time, and at the end of the day, it is with wisdom one maneuvers through life; it is NOT a simple juggling, and certainly NOT a sequential juggling; it is NOT simply you just pursue your career and NOT be bothered with the time your family demands of you, for example.

As to the story of NOT building bigger barn for tomorrow, the story was exhorting that we are NOT to just concentrate on material well-being in life, and neglect our soul or neglect to grow spiritually. Can’t I do both, and be successful in both, and there are Christians who made it for both, right? Yes, but you have to have your priority right, and if you are forced to choose, you must know what you must do. In any case, our material blessing is NOT just meant for our sole enjoyment, they are meant to be a blessing to others. The ways you employ in securing and maintaining your material empire also needs to be in line with God ways. The more you are given, the more is expected of you, by God. Connected to this, sometimes, it is also a lack of faith issue.

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high-expressions said...

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For example, some heads of local churches insist on building larger and larger so-called reserve fund, money to be set aside, to cover all sort of things in the future. Why is it getting bigger and bigger; it is because more and more years are factored into it. It is just NOT right for the church leadership to do that, for the money comes from members who are asked to live by faith, and so, to give tithes and offerings without setting aside for all the eventualities of life in the future, in the next many years. However, the leadership shows even poorer example of living by faith, and insisting on setting aside many years of possible expenditures, before giving towards missions and the poor and the needy, etc, etc. Similarly, must one be trained for many jobs? Probably NOT; it can be sign of lack of faith, but generally we have to be proficient in the job we are at, and it is good to acquire knowledge and skills of the job and around the job.

I am NOT particularly saying that Evert Heskes was wrong to exhort Matt 6:33. There is nothing wrong in that. There is a lot of wisdom in that, including God does note our effort in that direction, and righteous people do enjoy favor from God, but Ps Prentis was NOT expounding anything near to that, for addiction to computer games and drinking are in no way seeking the righteousness of the Kingdom or God. Such addictions are NEVER good in the first place, presently or for one’s future, be it to his/her career or personal life, including family life (A little indulgence, however, is understandable). There are teachings out there, with great followings, that are drumming into us, that we just need to bask in grace, and God will take care of everything for you. Exhorting Matt 6:33, to seek ye first, the Kingdom of God and its righteousness, is right; but NOT just basking in grace, and treating God as owing us the good life (teaching of overly grace preachers).

I personally believe if one tries hard to align himself to the will and desires of God, like seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, he does NOT need to slog with no end in meeting his material needs. Rather, if he slogs, it should be for the service of God. We are of limit, God knows that, would He NOT provide (but NOT “eat for you”, or necessarily hand-feed you), when you are serving him. We may put our hands to the plough, but it is God who bless the effort, and bring about the “increase”. Better to slog for the Lord then to slog for your meals! Ps 37:25 says: “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.”

I do NOT think it is a matter of one MUST seize every opportunity to upgrade himself, and if he does NOT, he has only himself to blame. At the end of the day, we cannot be doing everything, and all things, but generally speaking, we do need to better ourselves in 3 main spheres of life, our work area, our family area, and our walk with the Lord, although correctly speaking, the last one is {merged} in all of our life. You see, if one, because of circumstances of his family, had to devote more time, for a time and season, to care for his family, then that might well be thing to do, and God’s will for that person might just be that, he or she would be doing that with the blessing of God; God knows our limits, He does NOT expect us to be superman, capable of stretching beyond what would be normal testing for men.

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Anthony Chia said...

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As I have said, it is with wisdom that one maneuvers through his Christian life; and the point is that we grow in wisdom over time, over the time we walk close to the Lord, in that sense, life is always preparatory for the future, before we get hit with subsequent situations of distress, or be able to avoid in time, situations like redundancy. If people don’t want to listen to advice to walk close to the Lord and therefore, be able to receive godly wisdom, yah, they are at fault. It is always about priority, walking with God must have the greatest priority. We are NOT condemning people, but hope that people see the point; of course, we should suggest how people should proceed from their dilemma, if possible. I believe Ps Prentis knows all of this, it is just that often times, one cannot have everything said in an entry, for it will make the entry to be too long, like this one.

Ps Prentis’ exhortation is NOT without love, and Evert Heskes’ exhortation of Matt 6:33 is also NOT without merit. Above all, God’s ways are NOT irresponsibility, laziness, foolishness, and fruitlessness. “To just bask in grace” as the goal of a Christian life, has just that connotation, and is what I object.


Anthony Chia, high.expressions