Faith Does Not Grow in a House of Plenty

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Written by Steve Goode

In the past 25 years of working in and around people in a variety of situations I have been pondering some of the significant trends that I have observed. As a police officer I spent many hours in the midst of conflict and crisis trying to bring issues to at least some temporary absolution. If you wonder what I mean by this, as an officer you are trying to resolve the issue for the evening or day, long enough to stop the parties from killing each other so that you could move onto the next call for police service.  I am not saying I liked doing it this way, but that’s just how it works in the real world. It never was my job to change someone’s heart, which is the only real way to a permanent solution, and I accepted long ago that only the work of Jesus Christ could accomplish such an ominous task. It was almost a comfort to grasp this principle because I knew I could only solve so much in one evening, and that it wasn’t my job to fix the people involved. My primary frustration stemmed from the fact that the people involved almost never grasped this principle!

As I reflect and consider all the homes I visited as a police officer, and even the people who have visited me as Christian counselor, there are trends, and commonalities that do not fall into the category of coincidence. I also believe that I witnessed enough to dispel some of the myths that the answer to happiness and peace may lie in the amount of money you have. This discussion is not exhaustive for the sake of length, but we will look at one particular area. Many times all that a lot of money and resources really does to a family is prolongs and desensitizes them to the urgent needs in their lives. It’s not that money, and resources are bad, but that it sometimes can subdue our sensitivity to the real meaning and purpose of our lives. It’s the same reason we have feeling in our hands, and fingers. If that feeling wasn’t there we could leave our hands on the stove until we smelled burning flesh. Money and resources can sometimes just prolong the issues in our lives that are slowly and deliberately sucking the very life out of us both emotionally and spiritually.

A good example of this is found in the story of the Rich man and the poor man Lazarus. (Luke 16:19-31) The Rich man never realized his need until it was too late. He had everything he needed at his fingertips! He had servants, gold, the best food, and much more. Why would he look to the God who created him for anything? Maybe he was just waiting to be tested by God at some point in his life, and the testing never came. Maybe the test was to see if he would realize who allowed him to possess all he owned and become grateful to God for his lot in life! In any case it appears he never thought it to be necessary to reflect and worship God, because he was happy to live with plenty for the realized short-term gain he received. You could say he was no different than the “instant-gratification” crowd which wants a quick fix, but no commitment or accountability that would take some intentional effort. If you have never met someone like this go to any church this Sunday and you will find hundreds of them. (James 1:9)

You may think I just wrote this scathing piece to belittle and scold the evil rich people, but I didn’t write this for them at all. In fact I have many Christ serving and Godly friends who most likely have more money in their wallets than I have in my 401-K and bank account combined. There are many good Christian people with a giving heart who desire to do for others before themselves and this article wasn’t written to address them. This article was targeted to those of you who spend more time using phrases such as “If only we had more” or “If God just takes care of our money situation we will be more faithful to Him.” I am writing to those who may currently be in a family conflict or poor spiritual condition, and I am going to ask you to consider the utterly ridiculous.

We need to thank God everyday that he allows us to go through tough times whether financial or emotional. As crazy as it may seem to those who are hurting, there is a plan and purpose for your circumstances. Many rich and well resourced people may not see there immediate need, but you have the opportunity to experience, and make the necessary surrender that Christ requires of you. You have a chance to grow and mature in your Christian walk and see your faith blossom in a way that can only come through reliance on Jesus Christ!

Maybe you are one of those who’s financial and emotional world is falling apart around them and you can barely see an exit, but rejoice that this is a time of great opportunity in your life! With breath in your lungs and a relationship with Jesus Christ you can make it through your dark feelings of depression and despair! Realize that you have clearly seen that you do not have the strength to make it through your circumstances, which means you are going to have to totally rely on Christ alone! (Philippians 4:11-13; James 1:1-9)