A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it. (G. K. Chesterton)
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Godliness in Prosperity
There is a saying I heard many years ago that wisely observes, for every ten people who can handle adversity there is only one who can handle prosperity. I believe this is the great challenge of the North American church today, and particularly, my own life. Recently, I've been blessed and convicted by the writings of George Swinnock (1627-1673). He said, "He who is ever trading and thriving in godliness, need not fear that he shall prove a bankrupt." (Christian Man's Calling, 1:25). I fear that in spite of all the wealth and blessings of my life, I still remain poor in godliness. Oh, that God would fill my heart with a holy passion for Christ and an inescapable desire to do His will!
Swinnock has some good counsel for thriving in godliness in the midst of prosperity. He defines prosperity as, "a condition which consists in the fruition of outward good things, as health, strength, friends, riches, honours, and the like." Then he insightfully observes: "They are in themselves mercies for which we may pray with humble submission, and for which we must praise God with holy affection; but through the corruption of our hearts, they often prove prejudicial to holiness. Those fires which were made to warm us, do often black and burn us." He offers six directives on how we may grow in godliness in a life of many comforts.
First, be especially watchful against those sins which a prosperous state is most liable to. In particular, take heed of pride, confidence in personal abilities and accomplishments, and insensitivity to other's sufferings.
Second, evaluate yourself, not by your possessions in this world, but by your inheritance in the other world. Rate yourself by your treasure in heaven, by the pardon of your sins, by your investment in Christ, by His unfailing riches and righteousness.
Third, let God alone have the glory of outward mercies; it is God's bounty that fills your barns and banks, and therefore His glory must fill your heart.
Fourth, love God even more for the mercies He has given to you. . . . as fire which has fuel enough to burn of itself, flames out the more by having oil poured upon it, so the mercies which flow from God must increase that fire of your love, which is founded in, and abundantly fed by, those blessings that are in God.
Fifth, do God the more abundant service. The more wages men give, the more work they expect. Those that are rich in goods and wealth, must be rich in good works (1 Timothy 6:17-18).
Sixth, in prosperity, prepare for adversity. Summer will not last all year, therefore men provide for winter. Now God gives you health and wealth and strength, do your best to use these blessings to build a good foundation against the time of need.
May my heart be so affected with His blessings that I may be more abundant in my duty. With great privilege comes great responsibility.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Building a Home in the Woods
This is what we have been busy working at on our time off at home. Thankful for all the friends and family who came to help raise our little "barn." You can view more photos on our Flickr Photostream. Free tours, by appointment only.