Today's sermon was about money. The sermon text came from 2 Kings 5, which says:
The sermon focused on how Naaman received more then just healing from his leprosy; Naaman also learned who the true God was and he began to worship him instead of his false gods. What I want to focus on is how God loves us and uses his miracles to bring us to him and how we are worth more to him than gold.
Throughout history, money has been influencing people; whether we are rich or poor, money is always important to us. However, the question remains, does money rule your life? For Naaman, a rich man, it seemed money would rule his life, and yet we found out otherwise when he was desperate to get rid of his leprosy. He had to learn also that despite what he thought, that miracle was free! We CANNOT buy God's love, nor his miracles.
Not by good deeds, even though we should still do them. Not by trying to be perfect. Not by trying to buy God's love by saying things like, "Lord I'm trying to be nice to people, so where is your goodness?" It does not work that way, and yet God still loves us even though we continually sin. People love gold, and yet God values us more than gold. God created us for his pleasure and to do his work, which is to spread the Good News of Jesus to all people. How wonderful is that?! Yet as wonderful as that is, there are many who will cling to their gold, to their wealth, their material items. They believe it makes them happy; it makes them special.
No, that is far from true. I find most wealthy people miserable deep inside for they lack true happiness. True happiness and joy can ONLY come from God. I have discovered this truth first hand. When I was a little girl, my family lived the upper middle class life. I lived in a 2 story, brick house, in a very nice neighborhood. Just about every weekend, we would travel 40 minutes south to South Bend, Indiana to go shopping and go out to eat simply because we could afford to do so. At the store, I would usually go to the toy aisle and pick out something I like, typically a barbie doll or some accessory for my dolls at home, and my parents would buy them.
Keep in mind I also had an older brother who also would pick out a toy. A family of four buying about $100+ groceries and other miscellaneous items each week while living in a nice house. I took ballet and tap dance and went to a private school as well. I was surely living it up. I was little, and I was happy and I was also very naive
Those "happy" family outings began to thin over the years as my parents started to argue more and more, and eventually divorce. No more dance. No more private school. No more new toys. My dad had met another woman and her name is Lora. She is now my step-mom and through her I gained 4 step-brothers and sisters; 2 brothers and 2 sisters. I also had a younger biological sister. Life was no longer happy-go-lucky. Due to the divorce and other financial struggles that I later learned, such as the fact my father had filed for bankruptcy, my family had gone from the upper middle class, to below poverty in a few years.
I lost my home to foreclosure and had to sell a good chunk of my belongings for money in a garage sale. I used my money to help my mom, if I remember correctly. I was so young that some of those details have escaped me. However, I know that if not for my grandma, we would have lived in a homeless shelter. At that time I lived with my mom and two biological siblings, Erik and Stephanie.
My grandma was generous to us and took pity on us and so she paid, $10,000 cash for my mom to get a mobile home where we lived. I know one of the concerns I had was the idea of going to a different school district. However, a miracle had happened for our family, we had gotten a place to live in the nick of time. We had learned that if my grandma had not purchased the home when she did, it would have been sold the next day to a couple.
Despite our struggles, I grew up in a Christian home and I know that prayer had helped us through those difficult times. However, losing a home was only part of the struggle. When my dad left, my brother began to act out and abuse my mom, sister, and I. He beat us, threatened us (including my grandma), called us rotten names, and also touched us where we did not want to be touched. For some reason, he had to take all his anger and frustration on his family and over time, his abuse began to take a toll on me.
For almost 15 years I had to deal with abuse from my older brother. I tried to put a stop to it, but each time my brother got in trouble by the police for domestic abuse. he weaseled his way back and continued to hurt us. Now, you are probably wondering, how is it that a Christian family went through so much, had to lose so much, and I can still say that God loves me more than gold?!
Simple, I had to become more humble and I would not have learned that lesson if I were still living the life of a wealthy person. I had to learn that life was unfair, unjust, painful, difficult, and always a battle between good and evil so that I could also see the miracles God placed in my life.
I had a home, I had my family as dysfunctional as it was, I had great and supportive friends, I had food even though my mom was on welfare to get us this food, and I had clothes, and an education. I was very blessed indeed and I had to learn the hard way that money is not what is important; God is what's important.
I had to constantly keep myself firm in God's promises to make it through my ordeal. Songs like Britt Nicole's "Gold" kept me steadfast and not happy. For the most part, I have been very joyful throughout my life, as hectic as it was, and that's because I had God. I knew that God loved me and will ALWAYS keep his promises.
Now, I am away from my brother in a safe home living with my Opa (grandfather). My sister lives with us too. My mom and brother, who bother suffer mental illness, are bother safe and in separate AFC homes recuperating after having mental breakdowns. I have a loving, supportive, hard-working, Christian boyfriend. I have a full time, respectable job. I have a car. I have food and clothes. Yet once again, I have God in my life.
Money is needed to get by, and even though I am going through financial burden right now, I can rejoice in the fact that my burden will not last forever, and that if it came down to it, I would rather be poor and have the Kingdom of Heaven. then be rich and lose my faith and gain Hell.
I am NOT saying that being rich will make you lose faith, if you are a Christian, I am saying that the temptation is stronger. It says, "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." Matthew 19:24.
Keep the faith and you will be blessed and never forget that God loves you more than he loves gold! You are worth way more than that, "So hold your head up high, it's your time to shine