ANOTHER COFFEE BREAK: KINGDOM ECONOMICS IV
Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, are you? Good! Let's get going on this day.
I'm doing some coffee-blending today again. Costco has been offering its usual San Francisco Bay French Roast -- which we've been buying -- along with a privately-labeled Columbian Supremo. What I've done is to blend three pounds of the San Francisco Bay with three pounds of Columbian Supremo and about a pound and a half to two pounds of some double-roasted French Roast from Winco Foods in Richland. Makes for a nice blend, and it is really flavorful! Got a great aroma, too! Can't miss that smell when you walk in the door.
The French Press is full to the brim today, so pour yourself a cup. It's goooooooodd stuff!! You might even find a "vitamin" somewhere around the kitchen to go with it.
Well, let's get on with our discussion for today.
We're talking about the medium of exchange in any economy and said that -- for our world economy -- that medium is money.
For the Kingdom of God, however, the medium of exchange is faith. I said this in our last Coffee Break, and even gave you an example in the life of David Salzburg, but because the concept of faith being a medium of exchange may seem strange, let me take you on a different journey today in the life of another man called David.
Let me first preface this story with a fundamental principle of God's economy that every Christian needs to lock down in their spirit. We'll talk more about this principle in the days to come, but let me give you the short version for the sake of today's Coffee Break. It is absolutely critical that believers get a hold on this.
So long as Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden, they had complete and total provision for everything. There was absolutely nothing lacking. They had perfect health, they were free from all disease, and they had no worries about death since they were never designed to die.
What Adam and Eve had from God was an assignment. "And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.........And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it." (Genesis 2:8, 15)
The phraseology here in the Hebrew text indicates that Adam's assignment was to (shaì±µmar): to guard, to preserve, to protect, and to attend to.
Genesis 3:17-19, 23-24 tells us that Adam lost his
"Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return........ Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life."
See the picture? Things are no longer being provided for Adam and Eve.Â The focus of their lives changes from God's assignment to spending their lives and their waking moments striving to provide for themselves. Now they were reduced to working for a living. "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground."
The Scripture reinforces this with the following, "Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken."Â Got it? Instead of tending to and "dressing" the Garden, now he would till the ground, work it, labor with pain and toil just to survive.
It has been the human mindset and mentality ever since. It remains the rule by which people live today -- BUT this rule applies ONLY to people who have not been redeemed by the blood covenant that Jesus made on their behalf. God's people have been redeemed from the curse -- and working for a living is a part of that curse.
Lest anyone misconstrue what I'm saying, no one should draw the conclusion that I'm saying we don't have to work. Adam and Eve "worked" in the Garden prior to their eviction, but their work was neither sweat nor toil.
The fact that labor has been redeemed from the curse is illustrated in a couple of statements that the apostle Paul makes.
"And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it..." (I Corinthians )
"Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth." (I Thessalonians )
We'll expand more on this in the days to come, but Paul makes clear the fact that the work of our hands is no longer the means of our provision, that its purpose is to bless others; that our objective in labor is now for the purpose of giving.
explains the redemption from sweat-based labor this way: "But seek ye first the
Hopefully, I'm not making this so brief that I'm losing you, but bear with me.
Our second David (David Dorsett is the name we will refer to him by in this Coffee Break, but once again this is not his real name) began his walk with God under totally different circumstances. For the sake of brevity, let me simply call him DD.
DD had come to know the Lord Jesus Christ in his earlier years. He had married and raised a family. His sons grew up in an environment in which they heard the Word on a daily basis. DD studied the Scriptures avidly, and listened to teaching tapes and ministry programs on radio and television regularly.
One thing I've discovered throughout the years is that those who spend time in the Word -- meditating on what God is saying and making that Word life in them -- seem to develop higher IQ's than their counterparts in the world. That's an empirical conclusion based on my own personal observations throughout more than 60 years of knowing and walking with the Lord on a personal basis.
David Dorsett was no exception to this. He was brilliant in many respects. He told me one day that he'd had his IQ tested "just for fun" when Hitachi Business Systems made the tests available for their employees, and his IQ tested at somewhere around 165.
That's well over the 140 mark that society considers as "genius level."Â DD's level of technical understanding and his acumen in business showed that "genius."
There was just one problem. I suppose that David always knew he was "smarter than the average bear," but the IQ test results sort of went to his head and he began to rely heavily on his own smarts. As he continued his studies of Scripture, instead of relying on the Holy Spirit for instruction and wisdom, he began to develop his own interpretation of prophetic events.
If you recall reading some of the discussions in past Coffee Breaks, (e.g., Seven Nations, Seven Letters) you'll remember that I've noted that one of the results of eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is fear: specifically being contaminated with and by the Fear of Evil, the Fear of Man, and the Fear of Death.
As the years passed, many of DD's interpretations of the Word -- because they were based in his own skill and "great" understanding -- became fear-based. He feared the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. He feared "The Anti-Christ."Â He feared "The Great Tribulation."
These fear-based interpretations aside, DD was exceptionally prosperous in business. His business and sales abilities enabled a quick rise within the ranks of management at Hitachi Business Systems. He thoroughly enjoyed (and he was really good at it!) designing large computer main-frame systems to meet the expanding needs of large corporations and businesses.
Throughout the years, he traveled the nation designing, selling and installing these computer main-frames for numerous companies. If his customers were in Atlanta, for example, (and he lived in Seattle) he flew commercially. If his customers were based in the northwest, he preferred to drive.
In the early 1990's, following our move from Anchorage,
Alaska to Post Falls, Idaho where we were based for ministry throughout the
northwest and Canada, I still commuted back and forth to Anchorage working
under contract as Chief Engineer for the
DD called me one day at the TV station in Anchorage.
"When are you and Della coming back through Seattle," he asked.
I told him that we would be leaving
"Would you mind stopping over for a couple of days
before returning to
I told him that didn't present any difficulties, and that we'd arrive from Anchorage on Friday evening. He met us at Seattle-Tacoma International as promised, and we went to spend the night at his home. We spent the evening just fellowshipping with him and his wife (we'll refer to her as "Dorothy.") He never broached the subject of the phone call that night so I figured he would wait until the following day when the ladies planned to do some shopping.
Saturday morning, after Della and Dorothy had headed
towards one of
"A few days ago," he began, "I was reading and studying as usual, and after some time I shut my Bible and just laid down on the bed to meditate. As clearly as I can hear your voice talking to me, I heard the Holy Spirit speak."
"That's great!" I said. "What did He say to you?"
"Sell all thou hast, and come and follow me."
David Dorsett continued. "Regner, that makes absolutely no sense to me. The Lord knows that what I have is His! My possessions are just stuff. They have no eternal value for me whatever. So why on earth would the Lord say to me, 'Sell all thou hast, and come, and follow me'?"
I'd known DD for awhile by now and began to laugh. "David, my friend, there's no puzzle to this at all. You are a brilliant man. You have a high IQ. You attribute your successes in business and in life in general to your own skills, your acquired knowledge and understanding, and your own ability to reason things out.
"What God is after in you is for you to "sell" your reasoning. In a sense, this is more a trade than a sale, but the principle is the same. You are giving up your own reasoning powers and genius to gain something of far greater value -- something that God has for you that you've not seen or understood."
His reaction to me was not totally unexpected. "That's crazy!" he exploded. "That makes no sense whatever. Look, you know that everything I have is from the Lord. My ability to reason things out is a gift from God. He sure isn't going to ask me to give that up!"
He paused to catch his breath, and then continued. "Besides, what do you mean, "sell" my reasoning? That's dumb. That's not something you sell. I regard this as a treasure from the Lord that needs to be guarded."
Over the next couple of hours, I tried one way, and then another, and then another, and then another again to help him understand that he was making his reasoning, and mental and computational skills and abilities to be "lord" in his life above that which the Lord was speaking to him. I used the analogy of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil versus the Tree of Life.
"David, you're choosing to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil instead of the Tree of Life. The Lord is offering you the Tree of Life. What He is offering you is a realm of revelation and wisdom that far transcends anything you currently know, or think you know. To receive it, you're going to have to give up your trust in what you know and your ability to gain answers for yourself."
No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't get through. I really felt bad for him. Either he just didn't understand, or didn't want to hear what the Lord was saying to him.
This is a problem with many Christians today.
The Lord IS trying to bring them into a totally different realm of living than anything they've known. The problem is that they're afraid to let go of everything they know. They continue to desire and prefer the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It isn't that they're choosing evil necessarily -- although it WILL most certainly become part of their lives as a result of their choices. Rather, what is happening is that they are choosing "Good," or more accurately, that which they see or perceive as "Good."
If they feel in control of the circumstances, then things are "Good." If they feel like the direction God wants to take them in will move them out of their comfort zone, they will simply resist......and resist......and resist......and resist......and resist, until the choice they've made to resist God's chosen will and direction in their lives results in catastrophe.
As long as folks try to figure God out, or respond to Him only when it feels "right" or "comfortable" or "logical," they are violating the first of the Ten Commandments by making themselves to be God instead of the Lord. Sadly, many would-be Christians refuse to hear the Word of the Lord because it doesn't jive with what they want to hear or respond to.
Stop and think about it for a second. When your acquired knowledge becomes the standard by which you judge things instead of what God says and is saying, you've fallen prey to the deceiver, Satan himself. This is precisely what Satan pulled on Eve. By tricking her into having second thoughts about God's command not to touch the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, he got her to reason things out.
Once she began to reason things out, that which God had specifically warned Adam and Eve NOT to touch suddenly became desirable. Once it became desirable, the urge to try it was irresistible. Once the irresistible urge took over, disobedience was the natural consequence.
So it was with David Dorsett. But God was about to give David a second -- and even a third -- chance to hear and understand what He was saying. He was about to offer him once again the Tree of Life if he would reject the temptation to eat of the Tree of Knowledge.
That's where we will pick up this narrative in the next Coffee Break.
Kingdom Economics is a system under which we return to the priorities of life established by God in the Garden. Our assignment from God is our priority. Our provision is His priority.
The Blessing of the Lord be upon you.
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