Stillness in the Favored Place (Lent 13-2014)

SGL 2014 13 Joseph favorIt’s not just bad stuff that can get in the way of our experiencing stillness before God. 

Sometimes our biggest obstacles are things that are going so right or are so good that you can’t stop thinking about them.

Where are you?

Being consumed with thinking about social status or riches you already have accumulated?  Happy with how swimmingly everything is going?

This was the case with Joseph, Jacob’s favorite son (Genesis 37).  We cannot scrub him of his humanity by overlooking that he was even dreaming about his place of favor.

For us, our place of favor may be the job we have or the place of being the favorite child.  Maybe our place of favor is with our friends or neighbors or in the community.

  • Are you the corporate whiz-kid and rising star?
  • Or in the community, are you a household name?
  • Are you the child your parents can’t stop talking about?
  • Have you become the person in whom your family has invested all their hopes because you’ll be the college-educated one, the doctor, the lawyer, the NBA player, the singer, or the movie star?

Riches of this world, fame, popularity, favor, talent, and celebrity get in the way of stillness.  This is what Jesus basically said to the rich young ruler.

Mark 10: 17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good– except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.'” 20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” 21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. 23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

It’s not hard for the rich to enter the Kingdom because they’re rich…but because of what being rich does to our stillness before God. 

God doesn’t hate rich people or favor poor people.  But rich people, being in an earthly place of favor, can either assume that this is a sign God is pleased with them (when that might not be the case) or lead them to self-worship, believing that they got to that place of favor all by themselves.

Be Still.  You can’t serve both Money and Me.

Be Still.  You can’t bring it with you when you die, which you will some day because you’re human.

Be Still.  Riches come and riches go, and so do you.  But I AM eternal.

Be Still.  There are better uses for riches than serving yourself.  Serve Me instead by serving people.  It’s what Jesus did.

Be Still and Know that I AM God.  I AM the source of every good thing and behind every favored place.

Be Still and Know that I AM God.  Eternal riches (found in a relationship with Me) make earthly riches look like nothing.

Be Still and Know that I AM God.  Step out of the spotlight and let’s be honest about who you are and who I AM.  Know that I AM God.

Questions for reflection:

  1. What are you placing your trust in?
  2. What happens when people trust in themselves or their riches and later, they fall from favor or lose their riches?
  3. Read 2 Corinthians 8:1-15.  Note particularly verses 14 and 15 (14 At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, 15 as it is written: “He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little.”).  Equality is a buzzword these days.  In reading this entire passage and looking at the rich young ruler, is this equality mandated (compelled by external forces) or impelled (compelled from within)?  What is the difference, especially as it relates to worship?
  4. 2 Corinthians 8:9 reads “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”  How does generosity in giving to those less fortunate demonstrate your love for God?  How was this shown in the dialogue between the rich young ruler and Jesus (above)?


Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on March 19, 2014

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