Thursday, October 26, 2006

We lose what on ourselves we spend;
We have as treasure without end
Whatever, Lord, to You we lend,
Who givest all. --Wordsworth

Money changes people. Fame changes people. I knew someone a long time ago who seemed to be a committed Christian. He seemed earnest and sincere, kind and considerate . . . and then money and fame entered the picture. His focus became the world and all it could give today--not eternity and all it promised tomorrow. His house became bigger; his car became flashier; his name became a phone number; his ministry became a bank. There was a time when he led my little sister to Christ, and listened intently to every word my father spoke. But the things of this world are powerful, and they change people.

I once knew a young couple so full of love and enthusiasm for the Lord. They were in love and recently married, and both possessed great intelligence. They loved my father and worked hard at the tasks he gave them. They were kind and loving; good friends and great spiritual warriors. We trusted them implicitly. And then something happened . . . somewhere their perspective changed, and they turned their backs on my father. They sacrificed loyalty and love, honesty and even basic kindness, for the security of money and influence.

Money and power change people.

When my Dad was alive, he wanted to own a Cadillac in the worst way. He loved cars, but he could never bring himself to buy what he wanted . . . he knew that as a minister of the Gospel he could not be seen driving around town in a shiny new Cadillac. He didn't want to set a poor example, and he didn't want to disappoint God.

He started out poor, but then God blessed him, and there came a day when not only could he afford the shiny new Cadillac, but he could afford a big mansion up on a hill. It was tempting, but in the end, he just couldn't do it. You see, it was all about perspective. His eternal perspective--born of love for the Lord Jesus--just wouldn't allow him to buy these things. When he was 60, just a little while before he died, he finally bought that Cadillac . . . it was 25 years old . . . but it was a Cadillac and he loved it. He never bought a mansion--just a nice house near the bottom of the hill.

Every day I fight to keep my heart where it should be. We live in an old neighborhood in a little town . . . but some of our neighbors houses are beautiful. Some days I think, "It would be wonderful to have a beautiful house," and then I remember the families in Mexico in their little houses made of garbage--so proud to own a home--and I thank God for all the blessings I have.

You see, it really is all about perspective. Where is your heart? Do you need a brand new car and a brand new house? Do you have to have that diamond ring or Armani suit? Do you need the attention fame can bring? Then your heart's perspective is not an eternal one. In the scheme of eternity, everything this world offers is worthless. Jesus was homeless. Peter and Paul were homeless. I am so blessed to have a home.

If we truly view our lives through God's eternal perspective, our perspective changes and suddenly that extra $100 can buy toys and blankets for the little ones in Mexico. If we see things God's way, that brand new car is a foolish waste of money better spent on widows and orphans; the designer sunglasses are worse than silly pieces of plastic designed to cause envy in others--they're offensive to God. It's all about perspective.

Whenever my perspective starts to blur, and I find myself longing for the things others have, I think of how it will be when I finally stand before the Lord. Will I be delighted because He is delighted in me? Or will I be ashamed--and relieved--just to be standing there and not somewhere else? Will He be proud of me . . . or disappointed in me? I couldn't bear either one of the second choices--I want the first ones. I fiercely want the first, and I will not settle for anything less.

The eternal perspective--born of love--will make all the difference in life . . . and all the difference in eternity.

A Hollywood celebrity was once asked how he remained so level-headed when other celebrities turned to alcohol and drugs. He answered, "I never believe my own press." Christian leaders need to stop believing their own press. They need to stop spending the Lord's money on lavish salaries, big houses, gorgeous cars, luxury vacations and everything else the world offers. They have lost their way . . . and in the end, they will be destitute.

Money and fame change people.

In the scheme of eternity, the things we buy for ourselves--the fame we gain for ourselves--all are ashes in the wind. A loving heart, and the joy that love brings to others, these are priceless.


Gene Hamilton said...


I just discoverd your blog this PM and I am so glad I did. My wife and I belonged to your Dad's Bible class at Melodyland from 1979-early 1983. No one has likely influenced who I am in Christ today more than your Dad. He was truly an original and I think about him often. I loved your essay about perspective. It is easy to think my house is too small, yada, yada, yada! Then I'm reminded that my home is probably nicer and bigger than 98% of the rest of the world's and I realize what a crazy way we rich Americans think at times. I realize that this world cannot provide what my heart truly seeks: Jesus' love and presence. Good writing Jill. I will be reading you on a regular basis. A chip off the 'ol block but you probably get that all the time.
God bless you and your family,

Gene and Donna Hamilton
Orange Park, Fl

11:01 PM  
Jill Martin Rische said...


You were in the Melodyland Class? How wonderful! Those were golden days. :) Thank you so much for letting me know--and for your kind comments. I love hearing how the Lord used Dad in your life. Your encouraging words mean more than I can say. Thanks again and God bless you and your family,


6:32 PM  

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