I have good friends who are currently in the process of moving to another state. Mike is a corporate lawyer. His income is enviable to most of the society around him. He has decided to forfeit that income to take a much less lucrative position teaching law at a Christian university. When discussing this move with his wife, Jenny, I asked her about the reason for this major life change. She said, “We are learning that the hours away from home that are required in Mike’s job are taking too much valuable time away from our kids during formative years. He is not getting to put the time into the local work of our congregation that he wants to devote. Most importantly, we don’t want our children to be negatively influenced by the affluence that seems unavoidable in this position and place. We want them to grow up with an appreciation for blessings and not be around so many kids who experience daily instant gratification. We want to choose spiritual prosperity over what we see as material consumption.” Jenny was on target and the move, though difficult in many ways, will be remembered by the children as a spiritual crossroads where eternity loomed larger than life on this earth. It’s reminiscent of Abraham and Lot and the choices that determined destinies in Genesis thirteen. Don’t let the pieces of silver get in your way of heaven. When the choice is a tournament game or a worship service of your congregation, ask yourself, “Which is just a piece of silver?” When the decision is a raise with Sunday hours or passing on the raise so you can worship faithfully, ask “Which is a piece of silver?” When the choice is a home in an affluent area that’s far from the church meeting place or a smaller house that will facilitate faithfulness, ask “Which is a piece of silver?” When the choice is to stay at home and raise your own kids or the pursuit of a career which will provide a more luxurious lifestyle, ask, “Which is a piece of silver?” When you compare the amenities of your lifestyle with the amount you purpose to give to God each Sunday, ask “Which investments are just pieces of silver?”
I know lots of older Christians who are agonizing over lost children and grandchildren. They’ve figured out at last how to identify pieces of silver. Their bank accounts reflect that they made lots of good financial decisions. But their children and grandchildren are spiritually bankrupt. They would give those bank accounts in a heartbeat if they could purchase one of those lost souls for heaven. But when we choose the silver, we often forfeit for ourselves and for others those streets of gold.