Someone asked me recently how the Lord speaks to me (because it really is different for different people). For me, thoughts, scriptures, things people say, and ideas are threads that one day, usually early in the morning, suddenly string together into a picture that surprises me and opens my eyes to a truth I seem to have forgotten.
This morning my mom sent me a passage of Scripture. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade— kept in Heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 1Peter 1:3-5
Every morning my mom sends our family, early in the morning, a passage of Scripture that she has prayed on and meditated on for our family. It has been a huge gift from the Lord because this year has been one of considerable challenges and instability, for me in particular. So these verses, regardless of what state (or country) I am in, regardless of how early my call time is or how long my day, regardless of the demands on my time, have been a way for me to remain rooted in the Word of God.
This morning God used mom sending this passage, and this specific part of the passage to thread together a picture of what He’s been trying to say to me lately: into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.
Get ready, because I have some serious confessing I want to do here.
Do you ever dream, like I do, of someday getting this phone call? The call that someone has left you some money, or discovered something valuable that is yours, or that somehow – miraculously – you have won a modest fortune?
You may laugh – but I have found myself daydreaming of these things. I have even driven my husband crazy on a couple of truly bad days by buying a lottery ticket. I have laughed it off as a joke, and I have even tried to ‘church-it-up’ by thinking of the good things I would do with the money (free adoptions for all my friends!).
But my confession today is that in that moment, my trust has definitely been in the wrong thing, and the Bible doesn’t laugh that off – the Bible treats it as a serious issue of the heart.
No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. Matthew 6:24 and Luke 16:13
I do not come from a wealthy family, and neither does Justin. There is truthfully no real hope of either of us ever getting any form of cash inheritance. And there are days where, while we’re in confession mode, that is a hopeless thought for me. It means that there is no miraculous human cure for the sins that we have committed in the past, and even present, by getting ourselves in debt.
I confess I am a worrier – mainly about money. In fact, I’d confess that most days I worry about our future expenses and wish for some miraculous human windfall that will somehow insure me against the pressures that are coming down the road. I am a planner, and so I know exactly what future pressures are coming – and I worry about how we will rise to meet those challenges. And I pray and ask the Lord for rescue from future pressures so often that to confess it is embarrassing.
Give us today our daily bread. Matthew 6:11
All the while, while asking, I don’t acknowledge what He has already done to provide. We have, despite financial challenges, not missed payments. And that is miraculous. That is manna from heaven, given each day, just as it was to the Israelites 4000 years ago (Exodus 16). God gave a group of people enough food each day, just for that day, and sustained them for 40 years.
But just like the Israelites, I grumble against the manna. I don’t want manna for each day – I want the manna for now until 2025 paid out in one lump sum, thank you very much.
And the truth is – not only is that not how God operates, that is not what is best for my soul.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:25-34
That passage is a red-letter passage. That means Jesus said it – and I LOVE that because Jesus knows us well. He walked in our skin and hung out with us everyday for 30-something years before He preached this particular sermon. And He knew what we were like. He knew we were worrying fools and He knew the things we were worrying about were money and tomorrow. He knew that we needed to “choose each day who we will serve” and He knew there would be days we simply wouldn’t choose the right thing.
So He repeated Himself over and over and over because someday He knew I would battle my mind on this idea over and over and over until the day He takes me home.
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. 1 Peter 3:15
It is a choice to set apart Christ as Lord and we can, frankly, choose many things to fill that blank. We can, in our hearts, set apart money as Lord. Or we can, in our hearts, set apart our plans as Lord. Or we can, in our hearts, set apart a relationship as Lord (or our job, or happiness, or any number of things that do not fulfill). And those small decisions to trust in things other than Christ can add up over time and before we know it, we’re like me out buying lottery tickets because we can’t imagine another way out of the mess of our life than a financial windfall.
This morning, in a scary Holiday Inn bathroom in Austin, I saw the depth of my sin, did some confessing, and my heart and perceptions were changed. I suddenly saw these threads come together into a pretty amazing picture.
In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.
Here is the TRUTH that broke through today.
My parents and Justin’s will never give us a cash inheritance (which let’s be honest, is what the world values and what I, so often, have valued (set apart as Lord)). But Justin’s parents led him to Christ at 18, mine led me to Christ in childhood, and my mom sends me Scripture every-stinking-day of my life.
I have been given, first of all by Christ, and secondly by Godly parents, all the inheritance I need. I have been given an inheritance of righteousness that can never perish, spoil, or fade.
And that inheritance means I can go to the God of the universe when our mortgage is due, and He provides it.
He is even so patient and graceful and loving to me that when I ask for a check in the total amount of our debt, and He only provides our mortgage payment, I grumble against Him and refuse to acknowledge in gratitude his provision of manna for each day (I am SO like those grumbling Israelites in Exodus 16).
What terrible sin, and yet He loves me.
And I don’t acknowledge the heritage of righteousness, the best inheritance possible, Justin and I have been given with Godly parents. A praying mom, an honorable dad, a family that has stayed together. These things are priceless and no cash inheritance could possibly compare.
That’s another terrible sin, and yet He loves me and they love me.
Today, (and this is the truth) I don’t want the big check or the magic phone call.
I want the daily manna. Because although I’m sure I’m driving the Lord a little batty by asking him for money all of the time – at least I’m talking to Him. Sometimes I wonder, if He delivered the big money phone call – if I’d leave Him behind, all-the-while doing the things I think will serve Him with that cash payment.
I am an heiress, ladies and gentleman. I have been given an inheritance that will never perish, spoil, or fade.
And today I am humbled by it. And grateful. And I feel like the wealthiest girl in all of the world.