We are merely moving shadows,Compare this with Acts 2:44-47:
and all our busy rushing ends in nothing.
We heap up wealth,
not knowing who will spend it.
And so, Lord, where do I put my hope?
My only hope is in you.
Rescue me from my rebellion.
Do not let fools mock me. (Psalm 39:6-8)
And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people.And Acts 4:32-35:
All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need.I sought out these verses in Acts this morning as part of my ongoing quest to understand what Jesus really intended for his followers. In other words, what does following Jesus really look like? Minutes later, I resumed my daily reading, which follows the Bible-in-a-year plan. This morning's psalm was number 39.
I am shocked, once again, by the relevance of this psalm to our modern life. Western culture is a culture focused on productivity--do more in less time. It's a culture of abundance, dominated by consumerism and greed. More, more, more. More money, a house that's larger-than-life, a bigger 401K, a newer car, the latest gadget, a promotion.
As we allow these concerns to dominate our life, we stray from a life of meaning.
Our only hope--for fulfillment, for joy, for peace, for the satisfaction of a life lived well--is in God. Many of us nod our heads at that statement, but then wonder what that really means. I submit that the answer is found in a conversation with Jesus recorded in Luke 10:25-28.
One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?”
The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!”Psalm 39 reminds us that our lives are short, yet we have this terrible tendency to get lost in the busy-ness of every day life. Despite what our culture tells us, this is not the life Jesus called us to live! He tells us that there is another way, and it leads to life: Make God the center of your life--love him and seek him with everything you have, and take care of each other.
It is a high call to "love your neighbor as yourself," and for the most part, this concept is entirely lost on our culture. I guess we shouldn't be too surprised. The "isms" that dominate our culture--individualism, capitalism, consumerism, nationalism, racism--don't leave much room for concern for others. Most of us inherited this mindset. Since we've blended it with our Christianity from the very start, it's hard to see, much less admit, that it's not the life God intended for us. The aforementioned verses in Acts 2 and 4 demonstrate the application of this command, lest we remain unconvinced. The apostles and the earliest church took Jesus at his word and cared for their neighbor as if they were caring for themselves. This is more than "being a good neighbor." This is loving your neighbor.
This is where I am right now. The Holy Spirit has awakened me to this truth, and I am now sitting at the crossroads of selfishness and love of others. The more I read, the more it is confirmed: I am not meant to live a life centered around me. I'm meant to live a life centered around God and others.
P.S. You are, too, you know. ;)