"I've read so many verses that reveal God's desire for me to value what He values and to help those around me. How, then, should I live? How can I love what God treasures instead of pursuing what the world treasures?"
The above was taken from a wonderful devotional called Hope Lives. The question is a real thought stopper. The last year, or more, the LORD has really been showing me how very rich I am and the many ways that we have fallen subconsciously into reaching the next level of American achievement.
"1 Timothy 6:6 "True godliness with contentment is itself great wealth."
We've been some-what trained into pursuing our own happiness and thinking that nothing is wrong with that. Is it wrong to pursue our own happiness? The funny thing is, I think this is the wrong question to ask. But before I can treasure what God treasures, I better deal with something ... do I trust the LORD with my happiness enough to let it go?
A funny little thing happened when Steve and I felt "that feeling" that the LORD wanted us to bring home another child. We kept putting to death what "we wanted"...financial security, acceptance from others, time for "me" ("you know, you can't be happy and healthy if you don't have time for YOU" we've been told); new carpet and tile, vacations (thanks Mom and Dad, without you, we really wouldn't go anywhere); additions to the house; and on and on the list could go. The funny thing that happened? We became happier as we followed God's leading to minister to the least, the most vulnerable, the smallest person who is greatest at risk. I have become more grateful for what we do have and desire less what the "world" might say I need.
1 Tim. 6:17-18 "Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and be generosity and willing to share"
In the devotional Hope Lives, the author writes "Relationship is central to Christianity - The most important commandment is to love God, and the second is to love your neighbor. I think this applies to wealth. I'm to accept it as a loving gift from my Father, and I'm to enjoy it in relationship with other people. It's all about relationships; it's nothing to do with money."
I have seen this lived out in my parents, whether there was little or lots, people were always more important than the money, and the money was just there (small of big) to be used in serving the LORD and loving others.
Back to "How can I love what God treasures instead of pursuing what the world treasures? and can the Pursuit of Happiness be apart of this question? (Not THE question).
Listen to what Paul has to say about pursuing what the world treasures..."...for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils." (1 Tim. 6:7-10).
When I love others by giving to them from what the LORD has entrusted to me, and serving them from my heart, especially the poor, sick, widowed, orphaned and hurting, what the world treasures will no longer entice me (well, may be clothes...but I'm trying to get better at that!). And by pursuing the happiness of others I will find my own happiness.