• Jason Wade


4 Do not wear yourself out to get rich;

do not trust your own cleverness.

5 Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings

and fly off to the sky like an eagle. Proverbs 23:4-5

Growing up, I was always worried about how I was going to be able to take care of my family when I got older. I began to plot out my life in a way that, I thought, was going to give me the best opportunity to live a life of comfort and ease. I knew that if "I made it"... then there was nothing that I would not be able to buy and there was no where that I would not be able to go. I was dead set on this path for my life because I knew that was the way to get to my final destination... or so I thought. I was plotting a path that would have potentially made me financially stable, but I knew that I would not be happy or satisfied. I would continue to work to find success up the proverbial ladder that the world thinks sets the standard. But I know now, looking back, that I would have probably been miserable because I would be working for a life that was not my calling. So one day as I was sitting at a summer youth camp, I made this declaration to God. I said "God, put your money where your mouth is." I was challenging God to show me if there was another path that was going to give me the life I sought. I needed Him to reveal His plan for my life or I would continue to go my way. Needless to say 28 plus years later, God won!

One of the toughest decisions that we can make is the one that takes us away from our plans and allows us to find the joy set out for us by God. The battle is that we are very prideful and set our steps for the direction that we want to go. We honestly don't want to stray from those plans...even if it will inevitably lead to our destruction. We will force as many square pegs into round holes as we can as long as it allows us to keep ourselves on the path of success that we seek. Even when we know that our hearts are not in the situation, we continue to press forward because we really do become terrified to admit that we may have

made the wrong decision but we have gone to far down this road to turn back. Hearing this I invite you to do the same thing I did with God. I ask that prayerfully and with an open heart and mind, challenge God with your decision for your life. Putting your money where your mouth is means that you are willing to say to God, I will lay it all down if you are calling me to go a different way. Now understand, you cannot use this as a motive just to make yourself feel good. This challenge is a sold out mentality that you are willing to fully put it all on the line to follow Jesus. You are, to use a betting term, doubling down and saying to God that if I need to redirect my path and stop beating myself up to maintain a false life, please God show me now. We must be willing to set our lives up to maintain the riches that are not of this world which will not be destroyed by time and weathering.

It is so easy to think that money can solve all of our problems, but the pursuit of money sometimes comes with baggage that many of us really do not want to carry. Our teaching for today helps us to see once again the wisdom of Solomon. Solomon has recognized the power that money can have over the lives of many. I have personally known people who have won the large jackpot in the state lottery and it is amazing what happens next. We watch as they try to live outside of their lifestyles and find it very difficult to handle the situation of being "rich". They begin to spend their earnings on frivolous things that they think will make them happy and put their faith on their lifestyle instead of their ability to make changes for the long term. Months later they find that they have lost it all and have no way to return to the previous life they were living. Solomon warns us of the same thing today. He tells us not to become tired and frustrated from trying to achieve this imaginary goal of happiness that we cannot truly attain. He warns us to not to try the get quick rich schemes and depend on the next big thing to get us to our goal. Like I have heard before, the riches that we would earn would burn through our pockets because we just want to experience this so called life of luxury for once small amount of time. But Solomon warns that it is all fast fleeting and that we should continue to invest for the long haul and not the quick fix.

It's funny to think about what we truly would do if we could choose the life that we would want to live. Would you be exactly where you still are today or if not, how would your life look different. Would you pour your life into having all of the earthly possessions that you could get and find out that you may never be satisfied. OR... would you be willing to take the daily battle to find true joy? See, joy can come from being rich or being poor. It is not attached to a physical standard but to the truth that is found in your heart. Some the poorest people that I have met are some of the people who find the greatest joy in life. Their mouth is able to express joy even though they know nothing about the outside riches that the world holds so dear. To put your money where your mouth is, means that you truly are willing to step out on faith and rely solely on God to maintain your life and all your needs. That does not mean that we would not still have wants and desires and dream dreams of great

grandeur. What it means is that we will find true growth and happiness out of our willingness to give all that we have for the cost of the Gospel. It is such a hard mindset to really attain, and I really wish that I could say that I have perfectly obtained this status, but I have not. I continue to struggle some days to think about what my life could have been in this world. Then I look around to all of the lives that I have been able to invest in over the last 28 plus years. There is nothing that can match those type of returns on investment. So understand that when you challenge God to help you see outside the lines, you will never regret the journey that you will begin. Looking back, I would not change the journey for anything because of the lives I have had the privilege to invest into and the lives that have invested into me. I solely give it all to Jesus, not with pride, but in humility in order that I will never forget the day I was challenged to lay it all down on the line and follow.

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