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{February 23, 2020}






Heartland Community Church


THE JOURNEY

 

Jesus First: Treasure

By Michael Maybee

Several years ago, my wife and I were privileged to lead the “Generosity Team” for one of Heartland’s capital campaigns. That was a very edifying and enriching experience in many ways. Most important to me is the emotional and spiritual intimacy she and I experienced as together we took a deep dive into everything the Scriptures have to say about generosity; as we dug into extra-Biblical resources from Christian authors, recognized scholarly experts on the topic. It was great and we learned a lot; grew a lot. So now, you might think that we have it all figured out, that we never wrestle with how much to give, where to give, etc. Sadly, that is not true. To some extent, we (especially I) still fall into the same false narratives Seth talked about. 

I’m fairly certain we have gotten beyond that first false narrative mentioned, as revealed in the parable of the rich fool. You know, the idea that what’s mine is mine alone, for my benefit and enjoyment only and the more I have, the happier I will be. Let’s call that pursuing or seeking the kingdom of the world. Former seminary president, now author and consultant R. Scott Rodin puts it well when he writes, “In a very real way the kingdom of the world is never built, but it acts like a black hole constantly demanding more with no hope of ever having enough. The irony of the kingdom of the world is that it does not let us stop long enough to enjoy what we have amassed.” I think Rodin gets to the root of why Jesus taught us to seek His kingdom first and trust God to provide for our needs (Luke 12:22-31), and why the Apostle Paul stressed in Philippians 4, and 1 Timothy 6, the importance of contentment. Let’s resolve not to be like the guy in the parable of the rich fool. 

I, much more than my wife, am probably more susceptible to the second false narrative shared, the idea of, “Well, I follow the rules. I tithe.” Jesus had some very strong words for the Pharisees regarding their legalistic tithing in Luke 11:42. Paul again built on Jesus’ words when he wrote, “If I give all I possess to the poor [financial giving] and give over my body to hardship [sacrificial service to God and others] that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:3, emphasis added) Giving generously of our treasure, our talents, and our time is one form of love in action. How we give—the attitude of our hearts, much more than how much or what we give—is one measure of our love for Jesus. Let’s not be like the Pharisees. May our giving be motivated and decided by gratitude and love.

Just like the rest of Christian faith and the path to spiritual maturity, giving generously is a journey. You can only begin from where you are, and the best way to proceed is one step at a time. And just when you think the journey is complete, you step over the rise and see there are new and greater heights—greater joys—awaiting you. Wherever you are on the journey, resolve to put your love into action and take one more step, then another, and another…and enjoy!  

A Personal Note from today’s writer, Michael Maybee:

Fellow Heartlanders, this is my “swan song”, my last contribution to The Journey devotional. We have been called to move to Manhattan, KS and a new church home. It has been my great privilege to be a Journey contributor for about seventeen years of the twenty-six years we have attended Heartland. Thank you my brothers and sisters, and thanks to the Heartland leadership for giving me the opportunity to participate in this important ministry. May God bless Heartland, and each of you. 

 

{sunday 2.23.20}

Read Mark 10:17-27

Observe, Reflect, Apply:  Why do you think the man walked away sad? What do you notice about Jesus’ attitude toward the man in light of his obvious pride and reluctance to give? How do you think Jesus feels about you specifically in regard to your generosity? How do you feel about it? What will you do about it? 

 

{bible reading plan: the story of jesus from luke}

By Sheree Lutz

THE JOURNEY VIDEOS: CLICK HERE to subscribe to our Youtube channel, The Journey Online, for a Monday-Friday video post from Seth Davidson that takes us a layer deeper in the scripture reflections. New posts will appear each day.

 

{monday 2.24.20}

Read Luke 12:1-12

Observe, Reflect, Apply: For most of my life, my spiritual walk has looked rather academic. Not in a bad way, but simply most reliant on scripture for any sort of insight. I still do believe the Bible to be the best source for a concrete window into God’s will, but I am discovering more that the Holy Spirit also can bring revelation. Luke 12:12 says that the Holy Spirit will give you words to say in the specific moment. Granted, this passage is about religious persecution, but perhaps the Holy Spirit gives us the right words more often. It also seems that the key to receive the words is our hearts. Our hearts must be aligned in attention and obedience to the Holy Spirit. This openness grants access to our innermost thoughts and being. We become a vessel for the Holy Spirit. Let’s ask ourselves today, what is the posture and alignment of our hearts?

 

{tuesday 2.25.20}

Read Luke 12:13-21

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Greed—by definition, means “a selfish or excessive desire for more of something than is needed.” After reading that, I want to pat myself on the back. I do not think I am not an overtly selfish person. My closets are not overflowing with flashy merchandise; I do not go to the spa everyday. It is so very tempting to just read the first part and quickly move on. But there is more….the second part clearly states ”more of something than is needed.” Got me there. How do we know how much of something is needed?

For my life, greed does not typically rear its ugly head in blatant materialism. Rather, it is subtler and sneakier, easier to overlook and pretend is acceptable. Where does the monster lurk? In my “excessive desire” for security. I do not want the minimum amount for survival. I want enough for worst-case scenario with no margin for error. Like the farmer, I want to build larger and larger barns.

Security can become an idol very quickly and in many ways. The obvious in basic household finances: but also in food security, reliable cars to drive, healthy bodies requiring minimal medical attention, amount of sleep, the power of knowledge, and the list can go on and on. When you truly face it, the “excessive desire” for security is often merely an attempt to control the future.
Where might you be gathering or working for "more of something than is needed"?

 

{wednesday 2.26.20}

Read Luke 12:22-34

Observe, Reflect, Apply: I am discovering that greedy desire for security and control leaves no room for God’s miraculous hand. Verse 24 says, “Be carefree in the care of God!” (TPT) If every life moment is planned (and has a back-up plan), I can forget God and think I am completely self-reliant. Or worse, I attempt to take His place as giver and maintainer of life. In this context, greed can look like a rather extreme version of selfishness.

So my prayer has become that God gives me my daily bread, only asking for what is needed for this day. Enough money to pay the bills that come today. Enough patience to parent my toddler today. Enough wisdom to make the decisions that are required today. Not tomorrow’s nor the ones 15 years from now. I pray to be able to leave space so that God can wondrously fill in those gaps. And when that happens, HE gets the glory. Will you join me in praying "enough for today" prayers?

 

{thursday 2.27.20}

Read Luke 12:35-48

Observe, Reflect, Apply: This reading left me pondering a thought–verse 40 says, “the Son of Man will surprise you and will appear when you don’t expect him.” I always read this passage thinking of Christ’s second coming. We alertly await him to take us to heaven. But what if it could also mean that he will surprise us and appear at other times here on earth? We know from Matthew 25 that Christ considers helping others as aiding him, “Don’t you know? When you cared for one of the least important of these my little ones, my true brothers and sisters, you demonstrated love for me.” He is rather direct with those who denied care to those around them, calling them unbelievers. So could he also want us to be vigilantly watching for opportunities to assist our neighbors?

 

{friday 2.28.20}

Read Luke 12:49-59

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Verse 49 begins with Christ stating he has come to set the earth on fire. Those are very bold words! As a person who desires peace and does almost anything to avoid conflict (to a fault), I like to always view Christ as a peacemaker, WHICH HE IS. But he is not a peacekeeper, a deity willing to compromise and sacrifice simply to not ruffle feathers. Christ’s actions and words are daring. We must be willing to stand strong on the side of Christ. Not that we do so unlovingly, but rather with a passion for  God. What daring words or actions might God be looking to you to bring into the world?

 

{community discussion questions}

We weren’t meant to experience the life of Jesus alone, so we encourage you to rally a few others to discuss what you are hearing, reading, and reflecting on together. Whether you are meeting as a Journey Community group, talking with a few friends throughout the week, or bringing up spiritual conversations around your table at home, feel free to use some of these questions as conversation starters on your journey.

  • Can you name a takeaway or challenge from the Sunday message?
  • How has that been relevant, challenging, or meaningful to your life this week?
  • What have you observed about God, Jesus, yourself, others, or God’s plan for you from these readings?
  • Where do you need a breakthrough from God this week?
  • Who do you need to share what you’re learning about God with?

 

{extra journey resources}

CLICK HERE to visit The Bible Project site and explore their super simple, super informative Bible videos (and other resources).

CLICK HERE to get the Read Scripture App, from our friends at The Bible Project.

CLICK HERE for more on how to use the observe-reflect-apply approach to getting the most out of your Bible reading.

The Bible App Get a free Bible for your phone, tablet, and computer. Experience the Bible anywhere, with options to highlight, save notes, and share what you are reading with others.

Bible Gateway Provides advanced Bible searching capabilities, which allow readers to find passages in scripture based on keywords, phrases, or scripture reference.

 

Please visit us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and share what you are learning, questioning or experiencing. We love conversations!

 

© 2020 Heartland Community Church

12175 S Strang Line Road, Olathe, KS 66062

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