You Can’t Take it with You!
Joseph Herrin (05-25-2013)
• to banish (a person) from his or her native country.
• to withdraw (oneself) from residence in one's native country.
• to withdraw (oneself) from allegiance to one's country.
The tornado that devastated Moore, Oklahoma on May 20th provides an opportunity to reflect upon the transitive nature of people’s homes and possessions. A recent report stated that as many as 13,000 homes were either damaged or completely destroyed by the tornado. Images of these homes have shown how quickly a lifetime of accumulated possessions can be lost.
Homes and Possessions Lost
Man Standing in the Rubble of His Home
Entire Neighborhoods Destroyed
A common sight observed in the aftermath of some of the most destructive tornadoes in recent times is the erection of an American flag over the site of destruction. Such iconic images were seen in Joplin, Missouri, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama. This week’s tornado in Moore, Oklahoma gave rise to similar images, such as the one below.
Those who erect flags in the aftermath of destruction often do so as a symbol of hope, or even defiance. It is as if they are saying, “We will rebuild. We will come back stronger. We will not be daunted by the calamities of life.”
What is often not considered, even by Christians impacted by such losses, is whether it is the Father’s will that they seek to return to the life they formerly knew, a life where home and material possessions is a major focus of their thoughts, time, money, and energy. When I see images such as the one above where a soiled and tattered flag is strung up in the midst of a scene of complete devastation, I perceive a parable of America’s future. As I have shared in previous writings, RUIN is coming to America.
The images above were taken from Barack Obama’s campaign website. In texting shorthand, which is so common among users of cell phones and Twitter, the phrase “Are You In?” would be abbreviated as “R U IN?” Obama’s first campaign focused on the word “Change.” The change that is coming to America is not what people have been led to anticipate. America is being brought to ruin.
The tornado in Moore, Oklahoma damaged a local movie theater. News sites have shown images of the theater marquee after the storm. The words on the marquee serve as a signpost for what is coming to the nation.
Reading from lower left to upper right the three movies listed are “Pain and Gain,” “Into Darkness,” and “Oblivion.” The latter two movies focus upon destruction coming to the earth.
I Corinthians 7:29-31
But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none; and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess; and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away.
In a time of distress, those who will be the least impacted by economic and civil chaos are those who are the least entangled with this present world system. In an hour when global bankers are orchestrating the coming economic meltdown, leading to the overthrow of governments, rioting, and the implementation of martial law, it would be well to have as little involvement with the banks as possible. The recent theft of billions of dollars of deposits in Cypriot banks by international bankers, and the monetary controls implemented which are tantamount to a dictatorial rule over the lives of the citizens of Cyprus, is a sign of things to come. Christians who have a mortgage on their home, credit card debt, student loans, or other forms of financial obligations to the banks, will find that the Scripture is true that states, “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender's slave” (Proverbs 22:7).
The vast majority of Christians are entangled with this fallen world system in ways that are contrary to the will of the Father and the testimony of Christ and His apostles.
II Timothy 2:4, 7
No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier... Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.
If Christians will embrace the mind and attitude of those who are aliens and strangers in this world, they would find themselves lessening their bondage to, and dependence upon, this Satanic world system. As a result, their exposure to the upheavals that are coming would be greater diminished. Yet many, indeed, the majority, are like those citizens of Moore, Oklahoma whose homes were destroyed, and the accumulated possessions of a lifetime scattered to the four winds. They are heedlessly pursuing a material life, conformed to a fallen world system that Yahweh is soon to judge.
A profound lesson can be observed as one looks at the example of the early church that arose in Jerusalem following Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended upon the 120 gathered in an upper room. Three thousand souls were added to the church on that day, and many more were to follow. Among the early church of Jerusalem a radical change was observed. Men and women who had formerly lived material lives, focused on accumulating houses and land, and the goods of this world, found their hearts changed. Those who were formerly focused upon consumption began considering the needs of others more highly than their own needs.
And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own; but all things were common property to them... For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales, and lay them at the apostles' feet; and they would be distributed to each, as any had need.
I have never heard a sermon that mentioned how this radical transformation of attitude and action served to deliver the saints in Christ from ruinous loss when some years later, in A.D. 70, Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman army. Those who had homes and land in and around the city, and who were possessors of much material goods, suffered a loss as total and devastating as the citizens of Moore, Oklahoma. Yet, those believers who had sold their houses and lands, who had laid the money at the apostles’ feet, were not only spared from great material loss, but they were guaranteed treasure in heaven.
Yahweh further protected His people from the depredations of Rome, as a persecution by the Jewish rulers occurred after the stoning of Stephen. This resulted in large numbers of Christians fleeing Jerusalem, relocating throughout Judea, Samaria, and the Roman Empire. When the Roman Army under the leadership of Titus, sacked Jerusalem, tens of thousands of Jews were slaughtered, many of them crucified. Those Christians who had embraced the expatriate lifestyle were saved.
Consider how these refugees from Jerusalem fit the description of the spiritual expatriate that we have been exploring in this series. These ones likely had lived in and around Jerusalem for generations. They had to leave their homes, and their father’s household, just like Abraham did 2,000 years earlier. Many of them had already sold houses and lands as was testified in Acts chapter 4. This freed them to relocate quickly when persecution arose. Because they were traveling, they had to lighten their load of material goods. Many possessions had to be sold, or given away. Their lives stood out in stark contrast to that existence they knew prior to being born again of the Spirit and becoming disciples of Christ.
There are few Christians today who are following this same pattern of disentanglement from the world. For this reason, many will suffer great loss when calamity strikes, as it did in Jerusalem in A.D. 70, or in Moore, Oklahoma this past week. Ruin is coming. I share these things to encourage the people of God to seek Yahweh now while there is still opportunity to make significant changes to your life.
In 1999 the Father challenged me to yield the full direction of my life to His Spirit. When I surrendered my will to Him, handing over the reins of my life, He quickly accomplished a radical transformation of our family’s experience. We were led to surrender our home, our custom van, the majority of our furnishings and possessions, as we went from a 2,000 square foot home to a 28 foot long motorhome.
Let me be clear, for I am often met with arguments and accusations when I share these things, that I am not suggesting that Yahweh will lead every son or daughter to live in a motorhome. What I am seeking to convey, is that those who walk as disciples of Christ, having His mind and exhibiting His attitude toward material possessions, will find themselves thinking and acting in ways that are strange and alien to this world system. They will manifest contentment rather than covetousness. They will be focused far more on giving to the needs of others than to accumulating things for self.
I Timothy 6:7-8
For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. And if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.
Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.”
Tragically, the majority of Christians in this late hour are manifesting that attitude that the apostle Paul wrote about in his epistle to the saints in Philippi.
For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.
Christ came to transform men’s lives. If we do not see a transformation in our attitude and actions regarding earthly possessions, then we should question whether we are truly living lives directed by the Holy Spirit. Christ said that those who would be His disciples must yield all they possess to Him.
“So therefore, no one of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.”
It is quite evident from the four gospels, that Yahshua’s focus was upon giving, not receiving. He emptied Himself when He left heaven and came to earth. While here He accumulated no earthly goods. He did not own a home. He did not seek possessions. He died owning only the clothes on His back, and even these He freely surrendered to the Roman soldiers who cast lots for His cloak.
Whether you own a home, live in a motorhome, stay in rented quarters, or sleep out under the stars, the important matter is how you arrived at such an experience. Did you choose your manner of living in your own soul, or did the Spirit of Christ direct you? Do your possessions reveal an attitude of contentment? Are your home and furnishings modest, or extravagant? Do you live simply, and frugally that you might have as much money as possible to share with others in need? Is your life an example of one that is poured out for others, or is self-focus evident?
Remember the words of the Lord Yahshua, that He Himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
This should be the attitude of Christians even in a time of peace. How much more so, in an hour when troublous days are seen drawing nearer? Those who make giving a focus are given many precious promises that they will be able to stand upon in the coming perilous days. Yahweh has promised to take care of the needs of those who have given themselves freely and generously to the care of the poor and needy.
He who gives to the poor will never want, but he who shuts his eyes will have many curses.
Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free and break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him; and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your recovery will speedily spring forth; and your righteousness will go before you; The glory of Yahweh will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and Yahweh will answer; You will cry, and He will say, “Here I am.”
One who is gracious to a poor man lends to Yahweh, and He will repay him for his good deed.
And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.
I John 3:17-18
But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.
Yahshua said to him, "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."
Will the manner in which you have handled the financial and material resources of this world give you confidence in coming days that Yahweh will care for you? Can you draw on the bank of heaven, because you have lent to the Lord by giving generously to the needs of the poor? Will you have assurance that Yahweh will hear your prayers, because your ears were attentive to the cry of those in need?
Whether you have been called to a mobile lifestyle, or have a home and land, it is the will of the Father that you be a giver, rather than a collector. There is a popular saying that relates to mankind’s accumulation of this world’s goods. The saying states, “You can’t take it with you.”
Why wait until you die to give away what you have? The saints in Jerusalem did not. Christ admonished the young ruler with many possessions to sell all, give to the poor, and come follow Him. He promised that in return this man would have treasure in heaven. Are you earthly rich and heavenly poor? Or are you earthly poor and heavenly rich?
It is truly a strange and alien attitude, a sign of an expatriate from this world who has become a citizen of heaven, to travel light through this world. Why not see how much you can give away? You will never be able to out-give God. And when the storms of life descend, as they surely will, you will find that you have far less to lose than others.
This is an excerpt from Expatriates.
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