Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April 1 -- Who Is the Biggest Fool?

In many parts of the world, April 1st is known as APRIL FOOLS' DAY. 
In Luke 12:16-21, Jesus talks about...

In Luke 12:16-21, Jesus talks about...

THE RICH FOOL

What's the Rich Fool's name?

If you asked the judge Ehud, he would have told you King Eglon of Moab, an extremely wealthy and obese tyrant who oppressed God's people for eighteen long years before his gruesome demise (Judges 3:12-20).

If you asked the prophet Samuel, he would have told you Eli, a well-to-do priest who scorned the things of God and suffered the same fate the Lord predicted would befall Eli's two utterly wicked sons (1 Sam. 2:27-4:18).

If you asked King David, he would have told you Nabal, a mean and dishonest man who had grown rich, threw a big party in his own honor and then was struck dead by the Lord (1 Sam. 25:2-38).

Scripture makes it clear that wealth can be a blessing of God.

But material wealth also can be a snare of the Devil, turning our heart from the eternal to the temporal--from wisely choosing God's will to blindly pursuing our own pleasures (Deut. 8:1-20; 1 Tim. 6:6-10).

If we've learned anything the past six months, it's that temporal wealth is just that--temporal. It can be here today, gone tomorrow. So let's hold it lightly, as a gift from God. And as a gift, let's use it and give it away and do things that matter for eternity while we can.

Unlike the Rich Fool, let's always remember that everything we have is God's--and do all we can to store up treasure in heaven.

After all, Jim Elliot was right: "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."

What many people don't know is that Jim's older brother, Bert Elliot, left for the mission field three years before Jim did. Bert and his wife, Colleen, have given their entire adult lives to serving the Lord in Peru, South America.

Among their many accomplishments, Bert and Colleen have planted well over 100 churches in the Amazon jungles, Andes mountains, and coastal desert regions of Peru. On many occasions, they've risked their lives.

On one occasion years ago Bert and I were walking along a jungle path when he told me, "I expect to leave Peru with a bullet in my head." Little did we know that the Shining Path terrorists had just signed a pact with the drug lords in those very jungles. Among other things, they put a price on Bert's head. Less than three days later they attacked the jungle town where Bert and I had left our wives. Thankfully, God spared their lives. But I quickly learned that it isn't always hard to become a martyr.

What's much harder is living for God with one's whole being for one's whole life. Then and there, I made a commitment to do just that.

I hope you've made the same commitment to "keep the faith" through thick and thin, in poverty and wealth, for as long as you live...whether to age 25, 45, 65, or 85.

On Saturday, April 25, Bert is scheduled to receive an honorary doctorate from Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon.

He is no fool, indeed.

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