LOW COST LIVING

home > Pastor’s Desk > 2024 > February 9th > Low Cost Living

LOW COST LIVINGTurn on any TV or radio news lately and there’s bound to be a story about the current “cost of living crisis”. We all feel it. Initially most people accepted the widespread price-rises were caused by 2020-21 pandemic lockdowns. But whatever the reasons for the rapid price hikes over the past two years, every time we go to the supermarket we feel it again. While governments are striving to curb the impact of this cost of living crisis, there remains a way to enjoy low cost living. The key to this is recognising that the most valuable things in life are literally priceless. The path to enjoying low-cost living is to be found in Christ, and what He taught — and it begins with treasure.

 

‘TREASURE’ IS BOTH A VERB AND A NOUN

If you remember your Primary School English lessons, you might recall that a verb is a “doing” word (I run, I am running), or a “being” word (“I am.” “You are.”) and a noun is a person, place, or thing. Some words, depending on how they are used, such as run can be both a verb (“I run.”) or a noun (“I am going to the run hosted by Parkrun.”). Treasure is another such verb/noun word. We treasure something as an action or feeling (a verb); or, we can store our treasure (as a noun). Jesus taught that it was necessary for His followers to understand how to treat our treasure, and why it was even important to know what to treasure:

¶“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:19-21 

Jesus taught that true treasure is not anything we can have or achieve in this life – but it is something we must do. We should store up real, lasting treasure in heaven by treasuring the will of God for our lives. It is in seeking to do the will of God, which begins with loving God and loving our neighbour as ourself, that we discover that real treasure are literally priceless. We were created to seek this treasure. To love the Source of all love and to share His love as our own by sacrificially loving others with our hearts, our time, our talents, and our temporal treasures. When you find someone doing this, you have found someone who has discovered the kind of treasure that Jesus was talking about in this Matthew 6 passage. Jesus stunned His original audience by stating that this treasure literally out-values all earthly treasures! Take a seat, close your eyes for a minute to still your soul, and drink in these shocking words by Jesus:

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up.
Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Matthew 13:44

The man in this parable is prepared to forego everything he has to enter into a relationship with Jesus – the Ultimate Treasure! This man was not buying this Ultimate Treasure, or even exchanging all his wealth and possessions for it – because God the Father offers it freely to all who will repent and trust Christ! This is the essence of low cost living! Someone else has paid the debt we all owe to God and then offered us riches beyond measure. In essence, this Matthew 13:44 parable is about trust. The man who sold all that he had to buy the field where the Kingdom of God’s Treasure was, was actually relinquishing his trust in himself. The one who turns to Christ as their Ultimate Source of salvation, hope, and provision, is declaring their total trust in Christ.   

 

WHO WANTS TO BE RICH AND FAMOUS?

For many people, being rich and famous is their very purpose of life. For many other people the purpose of their life is to be happy and healthy. I think both groups of people are misguided. Both groups may be sincerely pursuing noble things, but they are not pursuing the Ultimate Purpose for their existence.

And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.
Mark 4:18-19

Jesus warned that making money or fame your life’s purpose (your idol) in which you religiously trust to give you purpose and meaning was a recipe for spiritual death. Ironically, the person who seeks Him first often ends up in this life and in the next having more than enough and even plenty to share with others, being truly happy and respected by the few who get to know them.

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. ¶ “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Matthew 6:31-34

 

THE MAP TO LOW COST LIVING

Down through the centuries millions of Christians have been martyred for their faithful witness to Christ’s Lordship. After Jesus raised Lazarus from dead I wonder if Lazarus ever experienced any fear again? Athanasius tells us of the Christians who had been recently martyred in his era and states that through their faith in Christ and God the Father’s gift of eternal life, these early Christians were fearless witnesses. Their persecutors often remarked that their threats of torture and death rarely dissuaded these Christians from preaching about and sharing Christ with others. Today, during this temporary cost-of-living crisis, we need to be reminded that the value of our lives is not measured by the size of our bank account, how many social media followers we have, what type of car we drive, the postcode of our house, or our list of achievements. The value of our lives in measured by what, or in Whom, we are trusting to give us our purpose, meaning, laws for life. If it is anything or anyone other than Jesus the Christ, Lord of Heaven and Earth, our souls are bankrupt and broken. But if it is that we have turned our lives over to Christ as the Saviour and God in Whom we trust and are committed to living a focused life in which we lay up in heaven treasure; that will last forever. Such a believer makes Christ and His Church their priority. Such a believer is able to do this at a relatively low cost despite these temporary cost of living crises that we seem to be all experiencing at the moment!

Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
First Timothy 4:7b-8

 Amen.  

Your Pastor,

Andrew

Let me know what you think below in the comment section and feel free to share this someone who might benefit from this Pastor’s Desk.

1 Comment

  1. Kelly Holliday

    Such truth!

    Thank you for this awesome article Ps.Andrew.

    Reply

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Follow Me AS I FOLLOW JESUS

We all walk a path in life that is set before us. We start with very little experience and knowledge about the purpose of our life and the world beyond us. All of humanity experiences joy, wisdom, strength, weakness, suffering and hardship, especially those who are “contending for the faith”. Knowing Jesus is a very special part of this life journey.

A CERTAIN GOD

We can be reasonably certain about many things. In fact, without this certainty about life, none of us could function. We can be certain that tonight the sun will ‘set’. Tomorrow the sun will ‘rise’. After the February 28th it will be February 29th. This year there will be international unrest and much political instability in many parts of the world. In the coming months global warming will be identified by politicians as the source of floods and wildfires. Several high profile international celebrities will die this year. Archaeologists will make a discovery that will require some aspects of history to be rewritten. And you will certainly have one of the most memorable moments in your life in the coming days. You see, there are clearly some things we can be quite certain about. However, there are some aspects about our future that we cannot be certain about, yet in those moments we can be certain about what we should do.

How To Know Jesus Better

It’s a scary thought to realise that the Jesus we have been told about and worship may not really be known to us at all. We can ‘know’ about someone or something, but not really know them. In Christian circles it’s often referred to as head knowledge not heart knowledge.

Knowing Christ Better

As a church, this year’s theme is coming closer to Christ by getting to know Him better. I feel that I am “the least qualified person” to tell anyone how this is done — but someone else has already claimed this distinction – the apostle Paul. After decades of hearing directly from Christ, seeing extraordinary miracles, being taken to heaven temporarily, planting churches across the Roman Empire, he could still say I would give anything to really know Christ – even if it meant suffering like He did! (Phil. 3:7-10). Therefore, I could say: If you do this or that, you will then know Christ better – but in my view, it’s not as easy as that! How we develop our relationship with Christ is shaped by several factors including our personality, our life experiences, our physical health and fitness, and our relationships with others (especially our parents and particularly our father). In fact, I believe that there is a relationship between how we have learned to build relationships with others (and notably how we have learned to relate to those who are closest to us) and how we then proceed to have a relationship with God. Even though I have expressed my lack of qualifications in telling anyone how to have a closer relationship with Christ, I still can, like one hungry beggar to another hungry beggar, offer you a few of the morsels of food that I’ve been able to find.

SOME PEOPLE HAVE AMAZING BUTS

I know of several people with amazing buts. There’s Jo’, Mo’, Sam, Esther, Jerry, and others. Each of these people were gifted by God with an amazing but that changed there life and the course of human history. Sometimes these gifts came with a …then, or …God, or …the LORD. When it comes to the size of things, a but is a relatively small thing (in Greek it can be just two letters: de) but it can have huge implications and enormously great blessings for multitudes. I hope to show you how this was the case with each of the people I have chosen as samples, and then show you how God is your God of buts.

OPEN

What does the word ‘open’ mean to you? Like language itself, it is like any word in which the meaning only comes from the context in which it is used. I can think of at least 12 different understandings of this word, some of which I will point out, most I will not, and one that I focus on because it is prophetically important for where we are at as a church at this crucial time.

ONE THING I HAVE TO SAY

​I’m always amazed at the really cool events I’d organised for my kids to experience, so that they might have happy memories – but now they don’t remember it except the random comment someone made in the car trip on the way there or what snack was eaten. Conversely, if you make a mistake, well that one is remembered! Once I drove Andrew’s car and just lightly hit something so it ended up with an annoying 2cm scratch. The mistake is (still) there in full view to anyone who looks. Is Andrew going to remember this above the years of my devotion to him? (Not likely, but some people do remember the wrong for way too long!) If you had the choice, what one thing would you want to be remembered for? What one thing would you want your family to remember? It’s not often going to be the thing you have in mind.

‘Famous last words’ comes from the hope that you’ll be remembered for them. If you were given the privilege of being able to articulate as the important thing to say, to be remembered by all, what would it be? Would it be a reflection on your love toward someone? Would it be a directive on how to have the best life? Would it be that you wished you had done something? Someone once mused, ‘would your dying words be that you’d wished you’d spent just one more day in the office’? (Not likely.)

AT THE END OF THIS YEAR I WILL RECOUNT 12 WONDERFUL THINGS (An Explication of Psalm 9)

This is my last end-of-year Pastor’s Desk post. When the head of our Live-stream ministry, Sari, asked me what I was thankful for this year, my immediate answer was obvious and predictable. But since then, I have considered that I also have eleven other things for which I am grateful to GOD for. In this last ever end-of-year Pastor’s Desk please indulge as I share my heartfelt thanks to God and for those God has used to bless me this year.

HE WAS BORN A KING

The king who reigned over Judea when Jesus was born was Herod the Great. Herod had no legitimate claim to the throne of Israel. He was from an Idumean noble family who supported the Roman occupation of Palestine. As a reward he was appointed by the Roman Senate as the King of Judea. Despite his attempts to curry favour with the Jews, including several major public works programs (including completing the temple reconstruction) he was still largely unpopular among the Jews. Little wonder then that when the Magi arrived in Jerusalem with their large retinue and requested to view the birth of the prophesied King of the Jews, Herod was emotionally threatened by this revelation. Herod immediately ordered an enquiry from the chief priests and religious scribes.

THE SHEPHERD IS THE LORD

Of all the 150 Psalms, Psalm 23 is probably the most loved. As we read it we can easily imagine its author, the young shepherd-boy David, making the trek through a ravine where bandits, bears, and predators lurked as he led his small flock of sheep through to fresh water and green pastures. As he reflected on how he led and cared for his flock he must have pondered of how the LORD was like a shepherd to him. As easy as it is for us to imagine teenage David composing this beautiful Psalm, it is also easy to imagine how the God he describes as his shepherd in this Psalm is also a shepherd to us. God, as a shepherd, provides what we need (vs 1), restores our soul (vs 3), when we are unsure He leads on the right path (vs 3), He protects us from evil (vs 4), comforts us in times of distress (vs 4), strengthens us in our moments of weakness (vs 5), He gives us honour when our opponents attempt to bring us shame (vs 5), and He provides a place of belonging for us (vs 6). This is what a shepherd does, David tells us, and it is ultimately only found in the True Shepherd, the Lord Immanuel.