As Jesus showed the Jews how obviously Godly He was, many still had reasons not to believe (John 11:45-48). Instead of focusing on the miracles before their eyes, and the justice of what He told them, they focused on things that were more important to them.1 Perhaps they were misled by the religious leaders (back then, it was mainly the Pharisees and Sadducees). But perhaps they fully realized that the Messiah was walking among them, and didn’t like what He had to offer. They wanted to keep the pride and the emotional and financial stability they had, instead of setting everything aside for fellowship with God (Genesis 3:6, Luke 14:26-27). These are the things of this world (1 Corinthians 7:29-35).
Living in America (and surely in most countries) today is not so different. There is pride (see Humility), there is sex (see The Meaning of Life), there is politics (see Mammon and the Libertarians) and there is bank account (see Mystery: Babylon). Like the Jews of old and most people today, we still think Jesus has to be pushed aside when it comes to getting these things,
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. — Matthew 6:33
Often, if you are being blessed at all, God will take away these things (and more) so you have to rely on Him (Matthew 11:28). Before you invest too much time or money in things, remember, It’s All Gonna Burn (2 Peter 3:10-14, Revelation 21:1). What we will find valuable at that time will be what has been tried in the fire — the gold, silver, and beautiful gems that are the Spiritual fruit of our lives. But so much of our efforts will burn, just like wood, hay and stubble (1 Corinthians 3:12-13). Is that enough for now? Maybe The Day of the Lord will come for you sooner than you plan (Zephaniah 1:14-18, Matthew 24:32-39, Luke 12:15,).
Question anyone that praises your focus on things. The Apostle Paul said “make no provision for the flesh” (Romans 13:14b). Instead of focusing on what others are trying to take away from you, consider what God could take away for your own good (see The Beginning of Knowledge), and how much He has to give away:
Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; ... And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the LORD your God. — Deuteronomy 8:11-14, 17-20
Make no mistake. God is selective about who He let’s into His heaven for eternity. Faith is the key. What is more faithful: grasping for things on this earth, or patiently expecting God to bless in His good time?
1. Israel had a long history of focusing on things other than God. Spiritually, these are their gods. If you look at the religions and philosophies they got entangled in, they are disgusting, too revolting to mention here (even as extreme as the internet gets). It made sense for the power structures of the day, but it led them to places they did not want to be. People are still thinking it makes sense today. Ever wonder why “American Idol” has been so popular? Aren’t we tempted to sacrifice our children for short-term pleasures? Don’t we borrow too much then load ourselves up with work to pay it off and insure, lock it up and maintain it all?