One of the redemptive perks for doing something stupid is that it is much easier in the future to correct others who are making the same mistake. By simply talking about your own past foolishness, you can provoke others to ponder without pointing your finger.
I’ve been able, for example, to prick the consciences of thousands of pastors over the years by telling the story of my pastoral repentance (something I shared in Part 4 of this series). In that case, my problem was more than stupidity. It was plain disregard of Jesus’ words. The confession I’m about to make trends more to the “sincere but stupid” side.
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matt. 18:1-6).
Jesus’ disciples did not ask the question, “Who then is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” from a purely academic concern. They were all personally interested, hoping to be great in the soon-coming kingdom. It was obvious to them that they had a winning candidate in Jesus, and they believed it wouldn’t be long before He would be ruling the world. Opportunity was knocking for those with ambition!
Last month’s E-Teaching, Is Greed Only an Attitude?, about greed not being just an attitude provoked several readers to request practical help on making material adjustments in their lives—for which I thank God. It isn’t always easy to see the need to make any adjustments when living in the Western World, where so many are drunk with the delusion that, “He who dies with the most toys wins” (a bumper sticker you may have seen). How blessed is that day when you realize you’ve been living on an island of fantasy in an ocean of reality. Compared to the one-half of the world that is living on less than two dollars a day, we’re living in Disneyland. (I’ve added a few photos at the end of this e-teaching to remind us of that.)
So what can you do to begin to obey Christ’s clear command to lay up treasures not on earth but in heaven? Jesus told us exactly where to begin: “Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves purses which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven” (Luke 12:33). Jesus gave this commandment to all of His disciples, not just to one wealthy man, and it could not be more plain. Thus, the true disciple of Christ must take inventory of all he or she possesses and determine what to sell, the proceeds of which can then be laid up in heaven.