Let Go and Keep All

SDA JournalDevotional


Scripture: Their possessions will be taken, their homes left in ruins. They won’t get to live in the houses they build, or drink wine from the grapes in their own vineyards.  Zephaniah 1:13 (CEV)

Observation:  Zephaniah stated that Yahweh is not so weak and uninterested as the Jews thought because judgment is within both His power and His will. In this three-part verse the prophet first stated that God will cause the Jews’ enemies to plunder the people’s wealth and demolish their houses. This would be as God had predicted (Deut. 28:30). With both their money and their residences gone, they would have no physical security. God then stated that their effort to rebuild their houses and plant their vineyards would be futile. They would not live long enough to enjoy them.[ Hannah, J. D. (1985). Zephaniah. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck, Ed.) (Zep 1:13). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.]

Application:  Today’s text describes people today who live in the pursuit of happiness by acquiring and keeping things.  A very wealthy man was once asked in his opinion how many dollars it would take for him to be completely happy, to which he evidently responded, “just one more.”  If I could have one more dollar, if I could have another car, if I could have another house, if I could have a bigger paycheck.  As a result, many have accumulated property and wealth but have not found the happiness they so much long for.  Some have hoarded  things, afraid to let go even of useless, worthless garbage. . . there’s even a reality show based on their lives of misery and the pain their condition causes their loved ones.  So many have made of material things their god and have become slaves of them.
One of the safest and best things we can do for our family is to live in such a way that we teach them to love and depend on God and not in material things.  A fire, an earthquake, a tornado, a hurricane, or a tsunami can wipe away everything we have in an instant.  The collapse of the economy, a war, the loss of employment may cause us to lose everything we have worked for, saved for, and lived for.  And if our identity and our happiness are tied to those things, when they’re gone so is our sense of self and meaning in life.  But if our confidence is in God, who is eternal, Who never changes, then the meaning of life goes beyond our physical death.
Besides faith in God, we can also help each other develop and strengthen the type of character that also has everlasting meaning and value.  Someone said you never see a hearse pulling a u-haul, by which they mean there’s nothing material you can take with you.  I remember the story of the rich man who was told by the angel of death that he had come to take him.  The man asked if he could take something with him, to which the angel of death agreed.  In a few minutes the man returned with a heavy suitcase.  Upon arrival to the pearly gates, Saint Peter asked the man to show him what was in the suitcase, and when he opened it what was inside was gold, lots of gold.  Peter’s response to the man was, “why would you bring pavement to heaven?”  The point of the story is that those things that we value here on earth don’t have that same value in eternity.  But character, values, principles, beliefs, they draw us closer to God, who is eternal.

A Prayer You May Say:  Father, help us to see the true value in the material as something temporary, and in character as something that may last forever when it is centered in You.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.



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