Plunder My Property
October 18, 2018 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
Every October, Moody Bible Institute hosts a missions conference. They give their students a break from their classes and invite everyone to prayerfully consider the global missions moment. A special keynote speaker addresses the biblical grounds and calling of missions. Representatives of sending agencies lead break out seminars on a wide variety of topics. Some were great, some were…not so great.
One seminar stands out in my memory. The topic was the use of hospitality in missions. While the overall content was excellent, one line from the presenter still sticks with me: “If you want to find out the depth of someone’s love of people, go into their house and break something.” The test reveals whether possessions or people are more valuable. Ultimately, the presenter wanted to challenge us, the young college students, to grow in our love for people; hospitality is using our God-given possessions to serve people.
An equally shocking statement is found in Hebrews 10:34. The author commends the original audience for “joyfully accepting the plundering of your property.” This line comes in the midst of encouraging the readers to “not throw away your confidence” (v. 35), by reminding them of the impact the gospel had on their lives. “After being enlightened” (v. 32) by the gospel, the readers were strengthened to endure persecution and hardship, including the “plundering of their possessions.” But they did not merely “endure” such hardship, but they had joy in the midst of the hardship. How can the gospel transform us to love possession less and find joy in hardships?
- A New Treasure Captures the Heart. The writer explains in verse 34 that their joy was rooted in knowing “that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.” Coming to be “enlightened” and place faith in Christ happens when one sees Jesus and his sacrifice as valuable. Christ secures redemption from sin and the hope of eternal life in the presence of God. This is the better and abiding possession. Our love for the things of this world weakens as we delight in and enjoy Christ more and more.
- Compassion Breeds Love for People Over Possessions. Understanding the truth of the gospel opens our eyes to see the brokenness and neediness of people. Without Christ, people are without hope. Coming to know Christ in the gospel is not our accomplishment, it is a gift. So we are humbled in the gospel and compelled towards compassion. Such gospel compassion esteems the worth of people over the worth of possessions. In fact, in light of eternal consequences, such compassion compels us to see our possessions as tools for serving people with the gospel.
The author of Hebrews gives us a wonderful window into what a gospel-transformed life looks like in 10:34. Love and compassion for people grows. Love of things dies. And treasuring of Christ sustains.