Thursday, August 29, 2013
Do You Think You Have it All?
Rev. 3:18 Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich; and white robes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen; and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.
The people in Laodicaea were wealthy -- they thought that they had it all! These are the church-folks, the ones who believed that they were actively participating in the work of the Kingdom, and yet something was wrong. They had gold and silver -- those things that they believed provided them with great wealth. They had beautiful clothing -- the city of Laodicaea was famous for it's cloth and beautiful dye work. They also had some of the best medical doctors around and were well-known for the special ointments and salves made for those who struggled with eye problems. These are people who had it all! And yet, it is in the things that they thought they had, that they really had nothing. Jesus offered them so much more than the things of the world. He offered them his gold -- gold that was more pure than anything they could have ever imagined. He offered them clothing of holiness and purity which were of more value than the finest designer outfits available in their city. And finally he offered them a treatment for their eyes beyond anything that their physicians had to offer -- a salve which allowed them to see the truth.
I've been in the Kansas City area for a couple of days for meetings, staying very near to the Plaza. This is a beautiful area of Kansas City but it is filled with designer shops -- places where I only peek through the windows and am blown away by the prices! Nearly every street corner has another designer label store and I wonder about who it might be that would actually shop in those places. I'm guessing it's those who would believe that they "have it all!" Now, we may not be able to shop in those kinds of stores and yet, we may be seeking to "have it all" by the world's standards. The sad truth is that having it all wasn't enough for the people in Laodicaea and it's not enough for you and for me. The things of this world have so very little to offer us in terms of satisfaction and eternal life.
My husband and I are at that age where we are working hard to be prepared for retirement. We have to be saving for the future because we have no idea what kinds of safety nets will or will not be available for us. But all the funds that we can stash away for retirement are nothing compared to the true gold which God has to offer you and me. This is the security which we find in a personal relationship with him. He is the one on whom we can depend, not the gold that we may have stacked up somewhere in a safe. That gold will disappear when Jesus comes and at that moment, only God's gold will mean anything to us. Therefore we have nothing if we have the earth's gold, but we have everything if we depend on him.
At the same time we are to be clothed today, not in the beautiful items available at the designer boutique, but by his white robes of holiness and righteousness. It is in our behavior and responses -- when we begin to look like Jesus to the world -- that we are beautiful. We are literally naked when we are only covered by the world's designer clothing. Instead, there is intense beauty when we are clothed in him.
Finally -- there is a whole world of truth that needs to be seen. This is a world where we are able to clearly see good and evil -- where it is no longer hidden in the shadows. This world and our ability to safely traverse through it is visible with the help of God's healing salve. The world can't give us enough medicine to make our way clearly through this maze -- but God can. We must stop trusting in human answers to the problems and trust in him.
So, if you think you have it all - you may realize that you actually have nothing. God is ready and willing to give us so much more than we could ever imagine, if only we will trust in him.
Lord, thank you for providing it all for us. Amen.