“A Consideration Of Worthless Things”

October 5, 2018

Antietam Lake, Berks County, PA 10/2/18 (Click to enlarge)
Antietam Lake with the iconic valve house, Berks County, PA
(Click to enlarge)

“A Consideration Of Worthless Things”

Message summary: When viewed through spiritual eyes all the neat stuff of this present life that is so visually appealing and sought after is worthless in comparison to that which really matters from an eternal perspective. That’s what we need to constantly remember.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your Word” (Psalm 119:37). “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for Whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith” (Philippians 3:7-9).

All I once held dear, built my life upon
All this world reveres, and wars to own
All I once thought gain I have counted loss
Spent and worthless now compared to this

Lowes sloganThis last month we have had renewed energy for some minor home improvement projects. I suppose we were in part spurred on by an ongoing Lowe’s clearance sale which makes some improvement ideas more doable without breaking the bank. Lowe’s has had an interesting slogan which states, “Never Stop Improving” which we used as a basis of a Daily Encouragement message six years ago. That’s a good slogan for our spiritual life as well!

We’ve lived in our present home now for over 16 years, the longest either one of us has lived at one address. At this point we have no plans to live elsewhere in the near future but of course our times are in God’s hands. We feel very blessed to be living in our current home and especially enjoy our location out in the country. To borrow a line many of you have heard or said, “We are doing much better than we deserve”.

Our home and other possessions are a blessing but we must keep a perspective on their comparative value to that which is supremely important. Consider the first daily verse as a personal prayer: “Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to Your word.”

It is found in the midst of the longest chapter in the entire Bible, Psalm 119. Sometimes when reading through a longer section of the Bible we can easily miss some spiritual nuggets. There’s a tendency to dutifully read the entire passage without pondering each phrase and considering the deeper or further meaning. I have a good minister friend who did a verse by verse study on this long chapter which reminded me of the importance of chewing on each precious morsel of God’s Word.

Today’s text is, of course translated a bit differently in other translations. This one from the Amplified Bible sheds further light, “Turn my eyes away from vanity [all those worldly, meaningless things that distract—let Your priorities be mine], and restore me [with renewed energy] in Your ways”.

When viewed through spiritual eyes all the neat stuff of this present life that is so visually appealing and sought after is worthless in comparison to that which really matters from an eternal perspective. That’s what we need to constantly remember.

What “worthless things” was the Psalmist was referring to? One commentary states “idols and idolatry”. Interestingly the final verse in 1 John is, “Dear children, keep yourselves from idols”. These worthless things might be similar to that which was written by Isaac Watts in his classic hymn, “When I survey the wondrous cross” where he states, “All the vain things that charm me most”. Although each generation has had these worthless and vain things (which can be idols) we have a feeling  they are far more prominent in our day than they were three thousand years ago when David lived or three hundred years ago when Isaac Watts lived. In our generation we are exposed to a whole lot more “worthless things” and a much greater variety!

The Psalmist was wise in identifying this truth and making it a request. Do you see these worthless things surrounding you today? Many, like improving your home, are not necessarily bad, indeed many are a blessing from God and we should be thankful for them, but compared to those things that matter most from an eternal perspective they are indeed “worthless.”

Consider the Apostle Paul’s perspective on this matter: “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.”

Knowing you, Jesus, knowing you
There is no greater thing
You’re my all, you’re the best
You’re my joy, my righteousness
And I love you, Lord

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, many people spend their entire lives accumulating that which perishes at the end of our lives. We, too, as believers get caught up in earthly possessions as they require a great deal of our time and often tug at our heart strings for misplaced value in this life. But our possessions on this side pale in comparison to knowing You and Your great love for us. Turn our eyes from that which is worthless and toward that which is eternally preserved for us in heaven. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

 

 
Antietam Lake, Berks County, PA 10/2/18 (Click to enlarge)Antietam Lake is east of Reading PA
The valve house sits out in the lake and has been restored in the last several years.
It previously looked like the photo in this article.
Click to enlarge

 
Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Knowing You – All I Once Held Dear”
  Video  Maranatha Singers

“When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”  Video  Homecoming Singers

Yesterday we shared a beautiful song “The Steps of a Good Man” based on the theme of our message but were unable to identify the song writer. Richard, a reader from the Carolina’s wrote, “I thought you would like to know the artist of the recording you linked is also the composer of the song. His name is Mac Lynch. I have known him for many years. He has dedicated his life ministering to young people in a Christian camp in North Carolina.” Video

Finally today:

Yesterday we visited two groups of employees from two of the companies we serve as chaplains who were working in community service projects. This is an interesting effort several of our companies do to serve and “give back” to the communities they are in.

Val-Co community service at Blessings of Hope 10/4/18This group of Val-Co employees is doing a community service project at “Blessings of Hope”. In this photo they are placing bulk coconut into smaller bags. “Blessings Of Hope” is a bulk distributor to food banks and rescue missions up and down the east coast.

White Oak community service at Hershey Ronald McDonald House 10/4/18
Late yesterday afternoon Brooksyne assisted these White Oak community service workers preparing a meal for the guests at the Ronald McDonald House near the Penn State Children’s Hospital. About thirty years ago we were blessed to use the Ronald McDonald House at Geisinger Medical Center in northern PA when we cared for Ester and other children with major medical needs. We lived three hours plus from the hospital so Ronald McDonald became a second home when the children (especially Ester) had extensive stays.
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