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Good Stuff

Most people who reach my age have a lot of stuff. It’s not that we are hoarders, necessarily, but our “this-and-that” accumulation has gradually morphed far beyond our needs, and a sizeable portion of our wants, for that matter. Many of us have a growing yen to right-size our earthly possessions to what is important as we run the bell lap of life. I think there’s a reason for this: as this life fades behind us and the nearing Kingdom increasingly consumes our field of vision, we realize that much of what we’ve treasured from an earthly perspective is different than what God esteems, and that a godly character is infinitely more valuable and impactful than one’s wealth and possessions. We do well, then, to understand what God values and to align our entire beings to His desires.

Wisdom. Wisdom, wrote Solomon, “is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.”1 For wisdom protects us and watches over us,2 and through wisdom we gain understanding and direction, well-being and honor, and counsel and justice.3 Aren’t these what we want above all else? Pray for wisdom.

Commands. God’s laws moved David’s heart to song: “The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold”;4 it is “sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.”5 For God’s laws lead us in “the way that is good and right,”6 the way of love for God and for each other. In His mercy, He has put His Spirit in us to move us to follow His decrees and to be careful to keep His laws.7 Walk in His Spirit.

Integrity. Observed Solomon, “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”8 We may marvel at worldly accomplishments, wealth, or fame, but isn’t it true that we esteem most highly those of noble character—character that reflects God’s presence? May your good name reflect His.

Faith. Life-giving faith is the complete abandonment of self-righteousness and the total reliance on the righteousness of Christ, for life itself is found only in Him. No wonder Peter declared faith to be “of greater worth than gold,” for it will “result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”9 Trust Him.

These are treasures that last, treasures built up in Heaven. They glorify God who glorifies us. This is good stuff.

Father, send Your Spirit to us to convince us of what is truly important to You and therefore to us. Grant us the grace and wisdom to submit everything to You for Your glory and our good. In Christ we pray. Amen.

1 Proverbs 3:14-15
2 Proverbs 4:6
3 Proverbs 8:12–21
4 Psalm 119:72
5 Psalm 19:7-10
6 1 Samuel 12:23
7 Ezekiel 36:27
8 Proverbs 22:1
9 1 Peter 1:7

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Big Lessons at Small Costs

Even before Matthew was born—while he was still in the womb—I would pray this prayer for him: that he would learn big lessons at small costs. Somehow this had been my life path, for which I’d been enormously grateful, and I wanted the same for him. Even though he is now in his 30s, I still pray on occasion that not only he but his entire family will know the blessing of big lessons at small costs. What might these small costs be? Let’s look.

The small cost of reading the Word. How many times have we seen everyday folks grounded in Scripture and guided by it, showing judgment far sounder than that of the academically erudite? As King David observed, “The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.”1

The small cost of listening for the Spirit. Isn’t it our natural tendency to react to temptations in our own human “wisdom” without seeking the Spirit of Him who has all knowledge and power? Jesus promised His followers, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.”2 Stop and listen3—it is worth the wait.

The small cost of heeding instruction. Among Solomon’s proverbs of wisdom is this priceless gem: “Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding . . . I too was a son to my father, still tender, and cherished by my mother. Then he taught me . . . ’Take hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands, and you will live.’”4 We can avoid much pain and by heeding godly instruction from those who have already traversed the path we now walk.

The small cost of reproof. Rebuke and admonition can be painful to tender egos, but when given constructively and received honestly, strong reprimand from others can hold a positive and purposeful place in our lives, for “the ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise.”5

The small cost of observation. Are you a people-watcher? Then you’ve likely witnessed the ripple effects of both the good and bad decisions of others. We can learn enormous life lessons simply by observing them and humbly taking them to heart. An excellent example is found in Proverbs 7:6-27.

The small cost of repentance. Repentance means to turn around and proceed in the opposite direction. After Jesus healed a man crippled for 38 years, He told him, “Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.”6 This is what grace does—it frees us to change direction and walk in “the way that is good and right.”7

A cost is an expenditure of money, time, or resources. Then do you know what we call expenditures with a strong possibility of a return? We call them investments. This is what we desire: big lessons at small costs. May we and those who follow us invest wisely.

Father, You are good and You always want the best for us. Grace us that we would learn big lessons at small costs, that we would grow and live in Your wisdom. Amen.

1 Psalm 119:7
2 John 16:13 ESV
3 See our November 3, 2021 post for a guide and links to our series on hearing God and discerning the Spirit’s voice.
4 Proverbs 4:1-4
5 Proverbs 15:31
6 John 5:14 NLT
7 1 Samuel 12:23