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What Are You Doing With God’s Gifts?

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
March 28, 2022 10:00 pm

What Are You Doing With God’s Gifts?

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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March 28, 2022 10:00 pm

What do we do with God's gifts to us? Author Joe Rigney reminds listeners that these gifts are meant to be used as an act of worship and thankfulness to Him.

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Going to be honest with me always am a been told I talk about this topic too much, but you arty know so that confirms I must talk about it too much. Welcome to family life we want to help you pursue the relationship I'm in and I'm Dave Wilson and you can find us in family life on our family life like today. I know I did. Sorry I don't know you that somebody else will I be the one of those things that you know if you love something you could be football could be the Beatles. It could be music there.

It could be food talk about it in some ways you think should I not enjoy those things and talk about it when we start a conversation yesterday with Joe renews back in the studio with us about this very topic so Joe will go back to family life today. Always good to be here now Joe we omitted our listeners know you're a pastor I didn't mention it before of what's name your church. These churches able things.

Also you're up there. Minnesota was nice and cold you and you're the president of new president actually's recent of a Bethlehem college and seminary correct. You don't like talk about that although I looked on people continuity high school students listen to the radio program to their parents because if the two we go to school for them. All right, so are you here we go Minnesota Vikings fan Minnesota Twins fan so well I've got layered loyalties.

We are Vikings fans.

We assimilated one from Texas so we we were a group Cowboys fan. We assimilated, we are no Vikings fan baseball wise we actually are bigger, Astros fans move my wife from Houston that grew up in that that Tina cheats that is so they say.

And I'm sure there's evidence. I'm sure they're the only one we have stuck through it is that was a teaching opportunity for family boys. There are more important things than winning and you have boys, boys. We love baseball, so were were Astros fans. Be the first was okay and you can sort of a baseball ancestry. My granddad Bill Rigney played in the majors for the New York Giants and managed the New York Giants and then when they moved to San Francisco. He was the manager there minutes. The LA Angels first manager for that team manager plans. This actually is really cool. Do you like it for one year. He was the manager of the Minneapolis Millers which was the before there were the twins. There was Millers AAA club and this, my dad lived in Minnesota now my boys play travel baseball for the Minneapolis Millers so that's kind of a fun little thing for our team and talk about baseball.

I talk about baseball all the time. You damn mighty and something I guess this is a really good question. Yes, so far listeners. I love your title strangely bright can you love God and enjoy this world sort of from the song you know again how much we love Jesus and if we love them so much the things of this world become strangely dim. You're saying I can become strangely bright including baseball. So do you love baseball too much is possible to love baseball too much. That actually is is possible and I think, but not for you, go for totally for me this is you have to check yourself real danger because God designed the world to reveal himself what he is like his invisible attributes, his character, his love, his mercy, his power everything that's made is designed to reveal him and therefore is an invitation to know him so everything is a display of God in an invitation to know him. That's what it's for. But that means are potent or powerful, and therefore means they can become competitors and so this is where we think about that. Romans one passage you know the invisible attributes are made known to the things of this world and then human beings to fundamental since they neither honor God. As God nor gave thanks to funnel since idolatry and ingratitude. So what one of the ways that was a helpful clarify for me is that God intends me to enjoy everything in God and God in everything. The pumpkin crunch cake that we had was so great. Still on my bill on my lips exactly right as wonder, like, so I also like steak to bring one of those and S but it must be present, but these things are are good things. I would enjoy God in everything he's revealing himself what he's like, through them, and everything you got. But it's also possible for us to separate them.

And when you do that the Bible does this for us today and asked us questions like you put God on one side of the scales and you put the good thing on the other side of the scales.

Whatever the good thing is and you say, which is more precious to you. The only faithful answer that question is God is he's the fountain of all goodness he's the joy of every joy like if you separate and have to choose its him or nothing. Paul does when he says I count everything is rubbish prior to knowing Jesus. That's comparative, you're right. So compare the steadfast love of the Lord is better than life. So if you have life on the one hand, and you have the love of God. On the other, which one do you want those are in the Bible and that's meant to orient us.

It's meant to kind of is God supreme in your affections you love him most of all love him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.

No other gods before and that's that question. Idolatry is when you answer that question the wrong way when you separate the gifts from the giver and you prefer the gifts over the giver.

So Paul says is the greatest evil in reality is when we say I would rather have these gifts these things of earth more than God.

And it's insanity.

This is the Bible talks about this is insanity. My people have committed to great evils. They have forsaken me, the fountain of living water, and they have dug out for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.

This a great thing for us. This is the sports when I do this all the time with doing a youth camp or something like me, when you say something, as I've heard you like.

She told me that is you got there on the football field talking to kiss your sandwich you know when you're running around here and you get tired.

It's hot and you come off the field and then you come over and there's the big Gatorade. You know the cooler Gaylor and you go there with you.

And over there with her cup and he walked up and you looked right at that Gatorade and instead of doing her cup with that you started digging in the dirt and shovel, and that your mouth when you tell that to any kid they go all that would be crazy. That would be insane and it's like that's what the Bible says that evil that's the greatest evil and that's what sin is it when we forsake the fountain of living water for broken cisterns for dirt. That's idolatry is when we we separate the gifts from the giver and prefer the gifts over the giver and when enough attention is your use in the Jeremiah passage, to when Jeremiah saying that who's he saying that to people who have tasted the Gatorade beside her and she got on the living water. Absolutely they know better places. This is unthinkable that you do this now pagan I get it. They can never taste but if you tasted it and then we find ourselves. Here's the question though, how do we know when it's an idol because usually when were worship an idol were the last to know there's a whole bunch of tests I call them comparative tests. The Bible sets these up for us.

I think so. One of them is singing songs like the steadfast love the Lord is better than life. Jesus is better Jesus, but he should sing songs like that in order to orient yourself. One of the want to talk with us at some point, is suffering is suffering is when the gifts get taken away and you curse God you shake your fist at them or do you say, like Job, the Lord gives or takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

That's faithfulness. It wasn't an idol.

It was painful. That's important, but it wasn't something Joe didn't curse God over his loss of generosity some more about that generosity is a way of overflowing.

I received all these good things from God and I want to spread them and share them with as many people as I possibly can. Those are ways that you can sort of determine is it something that I must have in order to be happy because that the truth is the one thing that you must have in order to be happy is Jesus.

He's the treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and in his joy when sold everything you had including football and baseball and monkey crunch cake in order to buy that field. Jesus is the treasure, but this is the sort of treasure that brings all the gifts back and says now you can enjoy them rightly. Now you can.

They can be oriented to them rightly as gifts not as giver gifts not is God's.

So the part of the way I test my enjoyment of it was just to get too much.

I try not to think about too much in some sort of absolute sense, it's always relative its does my joy in the gift increase my love for God so this is where that again that Romans one passage is helpful. Idolatry and ending gratitude. So the flipside of idolatry and ingratitude is worship and thanksgiving and in my experience, thanksgiving is an on-ramp to worship so it's here's the gift has been kind to be every good and perfect gift comes down from the father of lights. He gives you the gift, what should you do when someone gives you a gift you should say thank you from the low down bottom of your heart you should say thank you I'm I can receive you enjoy it. Thank you. And then that Thanksgiving then becomes an on-ramp to adoration and worship, and you can see why you're chasing every good and perfect gift comes down from the father of lights like a sunbeam and you're supposed to follow the sunbeam where back to the sun right this is just an echo. This is just a little mini revelation of what God is like, what must he be like if if this thing is this good.

What must he be like so that's turning all of your enjoyment of things of earth into first gratitude on the way to worship of God himself for who he is, not for his gifts ultimately but for who he is. That's one of the ways you just cut the root of idolatry. Because you're not separating them, and preferring the gifts over the giver, you're using the gifts chasing them back to get my thought is this might sound crazy you guys but I've talked to so many wives that when it comes to going to church mean I've got these wives are taking their kids and their family and so often it had women cannot mutate my husband. He says that he connects with God more on the golf course more hunting or golfing where watching sports because he says church is boring as you're talking about all the things I what would you say to that wife or even the guy you want to say two things. One is, it may be that you are able to meet with God wherever, because God is everywhere right like that's true. So when you're out in the deer stand or you're at the fishing hole and you feel like there's just something is right in the world and you can do you have a sense of thank you for this wonderful thing on here with my son. There were some of the whatever. That's a good thing you should say thank you for what if all it is is that and it never leads you to the word of God, which is sweeter than honey and never leads you to the worship of God the praise of God.

If church is dull but the fishing hole is alive. There's a disconnect in your soul. Something is not right and what you need you need to bring them together because otherwise they become competitors and the competition is the thing that the Bible teaches is so deadly is is the essence of sin is when God's gifts compete with him in for our affections, but if they become rightly ordered by subordinated to him, then it's good and it's right so I would say I'm dealing with a guy who says I meet God on the golf course. Try me God. Whatever I would say is it really the living God that your meeting with because the living God did give you that is a gift, but not as a replacement as a substitute and coming here gathering with the people of God. One of the regular things we do on Saturdays and then on the way to church on Sunday is where we going to be going to do worship God we going to worship God with his people, and I was glad when they said let's go to the house of God can meet God with his people that something that I look forward to every week. I want my kids my wife to follow me in that which for honest like you said not every week is not the case. Feel dry but he's a fountain of living waters become empty, drink Joe and your dog in earlier like one of the signs that it is an idol.

As we receive it with thankfulness and then were generous love to hear your thoughts on that.

I know you pastor I pastor for 30 years, you know, we know as we lead a church that most the people in our congregation are giving a little bit but not very sacrificially in on us and I went and looked at numbers but we just know and that's generally true across America, do we love money too much coming at him with, you know, family life is a ministry that supported by people say sacrificially give this ministry and thank God so many do, but I think it's a struggle for a struggle for me. I'm not saying it's just people sit in my church we all struggle with this. It could be close to an idol so the words of the Bible is how it speaks directly to us in the way.

So in the book of first Timothy Paul says as for the rich in this present age. I just pause there you go. That's us as Americans Westerners. We live in the wealthiest society in history of the world.

We are the wealthiest people who have ever lived. When we agrees that don't way we think, all that's for the rich people are not asking when we think that's not us. Just like you have an iPhone right like you have a heart you have a car you have indoor plumbing you have air-conditioning. Solomon the richest man ever or whatever you know would be amazed at the things that you have access to the things that you could just snap your fingers and get now so wets us what is Paul say to them, he says, well, charge them not to be haughty to be proud. It is easy to trust and wealth you say I can do all things through wealth, which gives me strength. You can say that. Don't be haughty, nor set your hope on the uncertainty of riches. There's a hope setting. I think one of the things I think about the way that riches for me is a temptation and a snare. It's a security to hedge against risk even say that Dave is not luxury as much as it is like a hedge against risk at trial. Safe safe.

If I have are a number in your bank number. My bank had asked me feel safe at all, says that's setting your hope on something that's uncertain market break-ins for thieves can steal the stock market can tank like that happens to your wealth. Don't set your hope there but set your hope on God sets the third, so don't be proud that your hope on riches that your hope on God is he's not uncertain and he will humble you, but then what's interesting is how he describes God, who is this God that were supposed to set our hope on he richly provides us with everything to enjoy. That's a really strange thing to say to rich people.

I think as for the rich, set your hope on God, who richly provides you with everything to enjoy. You want so this is the theme of the book. Enjoy the things that God gives. But he doesn't stop there and I think if he did stop there. I think we are in the worldliness. I think you are into idolatry territory. But he says there's for purposes why God gives you those things he richly provides you with everything first. Enjoy. But then, to do good to be rich in good works to be eager and generous and ready to share so that you store up for yourselves treasures as a good foundation for the future so that you can take hold of that which is truly life so that the other three purposes. This generosity be as rich in good works. As you are and wealth. Rich person. Where's your true wealth. It's in your generosity and so it's God. My hope is set on him.

He provides me with family and friends and food and money for my enjoyment but not just that if it stops there, it's gone wrong and instead it's meant to be a tidal wave of generosity so that you fund family live radio and the fun Bethlehem college and seminary you like. In other words, you find missions to the unreached peoples of the world that you give sacrificially in order to show that your treasure is not in your wealth but is in God and it is interesting that when you think about even the money thing I want to have here too long, but it is a big idol for probably all of us.

But when you think about that when people hear a pastor or ministry like our say we encourage you to give to our ministry. Often we hear a lot here they go to the 10% tithe whether they want to money and the truth is, when we give we have break an idol. It's like when I'm generous it's like it's a move that says you know have a tendency to put my hope in this when I give some of this away Frank said then again I have to keep doing that because it tends to come back. I remember a pastor preaching on that passage on their forget he used the theme much like what you just said. Joey said here's your motto go home and say this over and over.

I will not put my hope and reaches city said riches like that to remind us that that's nowhere to put your hope.

It's almost like laughable. I will not put my hope in riches but in him who richly provides I've never forgotten that Monica's and Mike, I have a tendency to do this I will put my hope in him, who richly provides and one of the ways I'll do that is everything you just said, I'll be thankful I'll be generous on model this, but if I'm to live this out in front of my kids fun to live this out with my spouse, it could easily become an idol because I know you spent Saturdays on a baseball field. We have boys, that's awesome everything in me as even as a pastor versus a go do it but I know some are guessing that's a waste of time rather than none of the debts enjoying God's give me the things of this world. It's a beautiful thing right yes so there's layers there, but what one is we don't just spend money we talk this way to we spend time so we think what generosity it's easy to think about money first and we should because it's a very concrete way and Mammon is a temptation and a snare and you know the parable Jesus tells about the soils and that third soil wherever they choke the life out.

It's the cares of this world and desire for riches. That's the thing that chokes the life of the word that really happens to people. So we want to give until it hurts all of CS Lewis heroes says how much to give is the pinch needs to hurt like. In other words, you there needs to be things that you say I can't do that because I am sacrificially giving to others. There's things I can't do for myself and I think anything but your kids. I think this is a principal on the one hand I want to be generous to my kids. Jesus says if you being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, even evil people know how to give good gifts to their children. That's the baseline and so I want to give good gifts to my kids.

In order to be a model be the small God my children. That's how God is he's generous with me as a father to his son.

I would be generous as a father myself, but I also want to invite my kids into hey were not going to do this thing, because were to be generous to others for not getting it to go to that because when you get to do this and I want to spend more than just money.

I want this give myself my time italic my treasure so my wife she is unbelievably generous with everything she has and it's not that she's just right and a check all the time.

The main thing is, she is unbelievably skilled and competent. She comes up with amazing recipes. The number of times that she's my camel to make you a pumpkin crunch cake and then she makes to and gives it to somebody out here want to make it for you and she just she makes all of these things and she poured yourself into it and then she just wants to give it away.

I want to bless other people with these things I have and it's like that's not gonna show up on a balance sheet that's not what that was. It's just she loves to see other people happy and if this will help make them happy. I want them to be happy ultimately, so that they can be happy in God and so it's an amazing and beautiful thing to think beyond. Don't just think money narrowly under was a college student, I don't have any money, is that you have time. Do you have talents.

Can you give those can you sacrifice those. Can you use those to be a blessing to others.

You do have something in whatever you have got his given it to you both for your enjoyment and for his mission in August thinking and I'm sure you have stories as well of moments seen the face and got experience the pleasure of God moments in my life that had nothing to do with sitting or standing in the sanctuary, opening the word of God. You think that silly place, but being on the football field or beyond baseball down of my kids are being at a concert where you're so moved, not just intellectually but even emotionally at the very presence and beauty of Christ, a sunset phone now modern Africa and a safari there so many different things it and it reminds me of the CS Lewis quote we may ignore. But we can know where to evade the presence of God. The world is crowded with him. He walks everywhere. Incognito.

What a great quote you wherever you go. He's there is someone 39 so this knowledge is too lofty for which the knowledge that is too much for him is like he's in front of me. He's behind me, surrounding me.

He hymns me and behind before I go to heaven he's there for. Go down to the deputies thereby get a boat. I go as far as I can across to see if I get a spaceship go across the galaxy wherever you go, God is there and he's holding you, even there your hand will lead me to write and will hold me fast.

So wherever you go, God is present in God is active in he's revealing himself, and he's pursuing you and he wants you even Winchester stuff. Your stuff is an expression of you I've given you this. Do you know why. And it's because I want to make you happy in me and I want you to then help others be happy in God. That's why you have all the things that you have with the with the sports thing I think about. There are things that my boys. I don't think could've learned except on that field because what's happening is in both victory and defeat. So you know that passions are awakened, the desire, the competition that I want to win, and then the disappointment sinks in, and it's like I want that roller coaster. I want them to experience the loss and then be able to be there with them and say this is practice this is training for life. There will be hard things where you will be crushed by reality and I want you to feel God's here for you in this or elation because you one thing and then I want you to stay in the highest point, your joy, God is better than this. My son's Little League travel team won their state championship last summer sun hit a grand slam in the championship game on a three to count, I told him it's only downhill from here but you better High Point but it is like and there's this does swell of emotion afterward and after. I'm thinking and that's just a taste of what God is like. He's better. He's better, and I want I want that to be my playground want to give that other people he's well I think hero as I'm listening to something as we talked about even someone 39 God is shouting in his learning his creation and things that we love. I love you a new matter matter to me. That was David and Wilson talking with Bill Rigney on family life today if you'd like a copy of Joe's book.

Strangely bright, you can grab or you can give us a call at 1-800-358-6329 that's one 800 F is in family L as in life, and then the word today what I told you that the foundation of your marriage isn't all on you to figure out sounds good right family life's weekend to remember is three days for you and your spouse to get away together here from fabulous speakers and connect over God's word. So whether you want to take a road trip or stay close to home.

There is a weekend to remember getaway for you and when you sign up this week you'll get over 40% off the regular registration price. You find out or can you give us a call at one 800 F is in family L as in life and in the word today and if you know of anyone who could benefit from today's conversation you can share this podcast where ever you get your podcast while you're there. It really help us out if you rate and review US treasury God sounds like such a nice phrase, but how do you treasure God when life isn't going great. Joe Rigney will join Damon and Wilson again tomorrow to talk about just that see that on behalf of David and Wilson. I'm shall be added back next time for another edition of family life, family life to the production of family accrue ministry helping you pursue the relationship that matter most

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