Money or Winning

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There are a few things that we would consider a “universal language.”  Money, a smile, a shaking finger, a handshake, a gift, a raised or angry voice, or a gentle voice.  Any of these are understood by the receiver whether the giver is known or not.  Most of these have no hidden meaning, but two do.  Money or a gift could have a positive or a negative connotation.  They could be used as a bribe or as a gesture of love and kindness.

One of the shows that our family enjoys watching is “Survivor.”  It has been running for the last 18 years.  It has become quite a phenomenon and quite an accomplishment to be picked to be on the show.  They asked the contestants that will be playing in the next season a “Would you rather” question.  Would you rather win Survivor without winning the million dollars or be the first one voted out and win a million dollars?  So the question here is what is more important, the money or the title of “Sole Survivor.”  I asked my family this question and they were split.

So money or title/fame?  Maybe it is money vs. the experience. Being voted first off, one would miss the experience.

Money speaks a universal language.  We all need money to live.  Some of us think we need more money to live than others, but it is a need.

Some think that money will buy them whatever they need.

  • Happiness
  • Love
  • Friendships
  • Security
  • Salvation/Eternal life

We work so hard for this needed commodity and yet it has also become a symbol of value and importance.

Peter and John were preaching the gospel and people were accepting Christ as their Savior and receiving the Holy Spirit.  In Acts 8, Simon offered Peter and John money so he could receive the Holy Spirit.  Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money.” (Acts 8:20).  Simon thought money could buy for him what he wanted, but Peter told him, “repent of this wickedness of yours and pray to the Lord…” (Acts 8:22).

Money does not buy happiness, love, friendship, security, or salvation.  Simon thought that his money would get him the power of the Holy Spirit.  What Simon really needed to do was to humble himself.

Have you met a truly humble person?  They do not have to yell to get our attention, rather their humble spirit commands attention.  A humble person is easy to be around because they are more interested in another’s life than making sure everyone else knows about theirs.  They are good listeners.  They are encouragers. They are noticers.

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (James 4:10).

Consider what it takes to be humble.  In being humble, our happiness is not dependent on things, others, or money.

As I have watched Survivor for the last 18 years, I have noticed that the person that usually wins the money is not the loud or the obnoxious leader.  The path in life to the things that really matter is not the fame and fortune, it is the path of humility.

The “universal language” of a smile, a gentle touch, a gentle tone, and a servant’s heart are the things that speak volumes to others.  Wouldn’t we rather keep company with this type of person and see them win Survivor?  Then we must strive to also be gentle, with a servant’s heart, and a smile on our face.

Money can’t buy happiness, but a humble spirit goes a long way to showing others the love of Christ.

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Faithful

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Faithful- loyal, steadfast, firm adherence to whatever one owes allegiance. An unswerving adherence to a person or thing or to the oath or promise by which a tie was contracted.

 

One of our favorite shows to watch on TV as a family is Survivor on CBS.  Sixteen people are dropped off in the middle of nowhere and have to survive 40 days with little food, little shelter, competitions, and remain in the game without getting voted off by fellow teammates.  We have been watching this show since its debut.  The irony of the whole thing in my mind is faithfulness and trustworthiness.  Alliances are made, bonds are made, and even friendships are made.  Many times a person is voted off because they broke their word.  Other times, people are voted off because they are such a big threat to win the game.  One of the favorite things for the players to do is blindside a fellow player.  So faithfulness plays a key role in the game and yet at times these players feel that a blindside, which in all honesty is stabbing a fellow player in the back, is the best policy.  Faithfulness is key at the right times.

 

God does not see faithfulness as situational.  God’s faithfulness is not situational.  When I go back and review the words we have studied that adorn my kitchen wall, I am frequently reminded that all of these words: respect, thankful, love, humility, compassion, joy, patience, sacrifice, and serve are not possible without faithfulness.  Respect only when we feel like it is not respect.  Any of these qualities fit this equation.  We must be faithful in displaying these qualities.

 

“Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.  So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.” (Proverbs 3:3,4).  What does faithfulness do for us?  We find favor with God and man.  In Survivor, faithfulness is the quality that is endearing to the fellow players.  In any person we meet as we become acquainted with them and see their life, faithfulness is one of those endearing qualities.

 

What is the opposite of faithfulness?  Betrayal.  We have all been betrayed at some point in our lives.  This is one of those deep wounds that are hard to erase and hard to forgive.  When we are betrayed, we question our value as a person.  We wonder what is wrong with us that someone felt compelled to betray us.  We struggle with understanding the answer to why this betrayal took place.  Yet, in the midst of our questioning, we must remember that it was not us that betrayed it was another person.  In Survivor, the betrayal that takes place comes down to winning the game and the one million dollar prize.  In life, betrayal comes down to the sin of another person.  Unfortunately, we blame ourselves for another’s sin, and often this drags us into a tail spin of our own sin.

 

What must we do?  We are all sinners and betrayal will happen throughout our lifetime.  These are the facts.  I often remind myself that someday I will stand before God and give an account of what I have done (II Corinthians 5:10), not what others have done to me.  In Luke 16, Jesus tells the parable of the servant who was dishonest.  Jesus reminds us of our responsibility as he concludes this parable.  “One who is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” (Luke 16:10).  We will stand before God and give an account of our faithfulness, not any one else’s.  Be loyal and steadfast.  Keep your promises.  God keeps His to us!