Friday—This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things
Refresh: Begin today in prayer. Ask God for understanding through the Holy Spirit and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Matthew 22:37 in the English Standard Version (ESV). As you read through this brief exchange, note 1-3 insights which deal with the essence of life as you see it and how God hopes for you to see it.
Reflect: As part of my sermon for tomorrow’s Sabbath service, I have asked Elia to sing a song written by a close friend of mine from Andrews University. The song is entitled “Pillar of Salt” and follows an exchange between God and a man dealing with the loss of his family estate in a devastating fire. A section of the lyrics are as follows:
If you can answer me this question
After the Temple building session
Was anything worth saving in that house of yours?
On the shelves?
In the cabinet drawers?
Jesus asks you to give your heart, your mind, and your soul. In return, He promises you hope, love, and eternal salvation. What’s not included is everything else that is flammable.
In a world that seeks to justify itself through commercial purchases, symbols of status, and expressions of joy through the exchange of wealth, a lot of this world is flammable, including you.
As the week closes and Sabbath rest sets in, take some time to work through a crisis beyond the emergency preparedness of a fire, earthquake, or flash flood. If called upon by God to follow Him, think about what would be the non-negotiables for you before you said "yes." Wrestle with God about the cost and determine the outcome. If He said go, could you? Would you? What might stop you? And what happens if those dealbreakers were overtaken by flames or turned to pillars of salt?
Recalibrate: As you take an inventory of your life, what is truly worth saving?
Respond: Pray for God to reveal your true identity, your true calling, and your true value in His eyes. Ask for God to take everything else outside of those things claimed for God to be cleansed by Holy Fire in hopes that you might become a new Creation in Him.
Research: Role play with God in your devotions tonight about how it might go if He asked you to walk away from it all. How might you respond?
Live Wonder (ages 0–3)
Talk to your child about worth. Worth of physical things (toys, food, homes), worth of people, worth our relationship with God. Ask them what they think is the most important and why.
Live Adventure (ages 4–11)
If you had to leave your house right this minute, what three things would you take with you and why? If Jesus asked you to leave your house right now and not bring anything with you, do you think you could do it?
Live Purpose (ages 12–16)
What’s the one thing you couldn’t live without? Your cell phone? A box full of memories? What makes that one thing so important to you? Is your relationship with God more or less important than that thing?