by Pastor Tim Burt
Howard Hughes, was one of the richest men of his day and yet he finished his life sickly and as a recluse. He left an estate valued at about $2 billion. Four hundred prospective heirs tried to inherit it but it eventually went to twenty-two cousins on both sides of his family. Nevada, California, and Texas sued for inheritance-tax claims that went before the Supreme Court on three occasions. Hughes Aircraft ended up in the hands of Hughes Medical Institute, which sold it to General Motors in 1985 for $5 billion. Ten hotels and casinos in Las Vegas and Reno remained with Summa Corporation. Here is a question to ponder. Although many people profited from his life, did he?
Instead of asking that question about him, we should ask it of ourselves. Mark 8:36 (NIV) says, "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?" You can accumulate assets all your life, yet forfeit real profit—the things God places value on. So what can cause us to profit within our lives? The answer is clear in God’s Word. We profit when we have God's purposes and God's motives at the center of all we do.
God created us to be a light for Him in this dark world. He created us to be salt—to add flavor and help preserve this misguided world. He created us to share His love and true riches with us—the same reason parents bring children into this world. Through Satan's deception and man's disobedience, Satan gained entrance into this earth and mankind's doings and disrupted God's plan by leading man to make wrong choices. That has created human suffering and pain that the entire world witnesses every day. We became separated from God because of sin. God's purpose of creating man to love and fellowship with did not change. But, it had to take a second seat to the immediate and necessary purpose of man being restored to God through the forgiveness of sin through faith in Jesus Christ.
1 Timothy 2:3-4 (NIV) says, "... God our Savior... wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." That is God's ultimate purpose and He desires it to become ours. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 (NIV) goes on to say, "All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation." His stated purpose is for us to be ministers of reconciliation—us influencing people to the saving knowledge of Jesus!
God doesn't care if you and I accumulate more assets than Howard Hughes or not. Being rich or poor isn't the issue. The issue is keeping His purpose—reconciling others to Jesus Christ as our purpose as we walk out our lives. If that is your underlying purpose as you walk out your livelihood, your relationships, and your life, then this will shape godly character in you and in God's eyes you are profiting in your life. If your job is your purpose for living, you've become misguided. Your livelihood is only a means of providing the resources necessary for you to live and accomplish what God has given you to accomplish in this life. It was never meant to consume you and become who you are. Although you probably remember that the Apostle Peter was a fisherman, that is not what you think of when you think of his life. That was what he did. That was not who he was!
God's heart and pure motive in everything is love! Jesus left Heaven motivated by His love toward us. He pursued us, as sinful and offensive as we were, out of love. He washes our sins away and gives us a new life filled and guided by His Holy Spirit out of love. His reason for creating us to begin with was out His love for us. Because of His incomprehensible love, He continues to forgive and help us even when we fail Him over and over. When that kind of love becomes our motive for what we do rather than gain or personal benefit, then our lives are profiting including the priceless value of growing in character and integrity.
Today I am spending time with a man in hospice. He’s ready to go see Jesus. I have watched he and his wife serve others in our church selflessly and faithfully for years and years. Their motive was simply to help others experience the same love of Jesus that transformed their lives. Their motive has always been love. Consequently, I am confident that in God’s eyes, he will finish his life as an extremely rich man with great rewards waiting him on the other side. May we all be counted by God as rich in this way!
Proverbs 20:27 (NLT) "The Lord’s light penetrates the human spirit, exposing every hidden motive"
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt