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My husband and I need to repair our sunroom. In the rain, the roof leaks buckets of water; when it’s winter the cold frosts over; in summer it’s a sauna.
To me, a leaking roof is an opportunity not just to repair, but to renovate – to extend the lounge, raise the roof, heighten the windows, and let that beautiful northern sun enlighten our home.
But our Ecclesiastes sermon series has given cause to ponder. Jon Baird taught from chapter 5 – “When goods increase, they increase who eat them.”
Our world advertises the unnecessary as necessary. We think we need what we do not have. And so we want better – a better phone, a better wardrobe, a better car, a better sunroom…
When UK’s Grand Design expert, Kevin McCloud, visited the slums of Mumbai he found those living in their own sewage were as happy as slumdog millionaires! At the end of his iApple life, even Steve Jobs admitted, ‘My favourite things in life don’t cost any money’. Can the unsaved be ‘content with food and clothing’ (1 Tim 6:8) when we are not?
Sin is a subtle and deceiving ally. Like the force of gravity (Victor Hugo, Les Miserables), it pulls us down to earth. It makes me want pretty things, faster internet, funky hipster fashion, tastier coffee, newly renovated bathrooms… The allure is enticing, promising happiness, social status, something better.
Against the world’s gospel promises, I need God’s true truth – all is vanity; a chasing after the intangible, temporal mist that will soon vanish in the coming dawn.
I need people to remind me of God’s truth. When the Chin children fought over toys and belongings, I’m told they were chastised with wisdom – “That doll is not yours, Rachel, nor is it yours, Naomi, it belongs to God.” So they remind me of my stewardship – I’m a temporary resident living in a house belonging to God.
I also need a better vision. When the Negro slaves of America owned nothing, they sung of the glory land to come. Despite poverty and oppression they rejoiced, confident of their shares in the heavenly estate (Phil 3:20). They longed for the dawn, for the mansion with many rooms (John 14:2), for the city whose streets are paved with gold (Rev 21:21), for the day when the ransomed of the Lord will enter Zion with everlasting joy and gladness (Isaiah 35). This is the greatest treasure. This is the dream home. This is the company to invest in. It’s the promise that will deliver. It’s the Kingdom that will last. The inheritance that doesn’t perish, spoil or go out of fashion.
So when it comes to fixing a leaking roof, what will we do? Perhaps we will follow Paul White’s wisdom and tithe in equal measure to our spending (when Paul White spent $20 on popcorn and cinema tickets, he’d give $20 away; when he spent $1000 on a nice holiday, he’d donate $1000). By earthly standards, we are among the richest 10% in the world. But by heavenly standards… !!!
My vision is so often short sighted and my heart infatuated with worldly aesthetics. But I pray the Lord might lift my vision to the heavenly throne and fill my heart with generosity to give up everything for his Kingdom.