Saturday, April 12, 2008

Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment - Heirs

Therefore when you look into the book of God and find any promise there, you may make it your own; just as an heir who rides over a lot of fields and meadows says, This meadow is my inheritance, and this corn field is my inheritance, and then he sees a fine house, and says, This fine house is my inheritance. He looks at them with a different eye from a stranger who rides over those fields. A carnal heart reads the promises, and reads them merely as stories, not that he has any great interest in them. But every time a godly man reads the Scriptures (remember this when you are reading the Scripture) and there meets with a promise, he ought to lay his hand upon it and say, This is part of my inheritance, it is mine, and I am to live upon it.

This will make you contented; it is a mysterious way of getting contentment. And there are several other promises that bring contentment (Psalm 34:10, 37:6; Isaiah 58:10). (pg. 83)

Let us look at those "several other promises" that Burroughs lists but does not elaborate upon:

The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing. - Psalm 34:10 (ESV)

He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. - Psalm 37:6 (ESV)

...and if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in darkness, and thine obscurity be as the noonday: - Isaiah 58:10 (ESV)

Note that all of these promises are conditional: seek the Lord and not want any good thing; commit your way to the Lord (see v.5) and He will bring forth your righteousness; care for the poor and see your light rise. Burroughs' heir, riding over his estate, had an obligation to all those in his realm, due to the fact that everything that a 17th Century English lord did would impact those living within his precincts. If he was a wise and just lord then his people would prosper. If he was foolish and profligate then they would suffer.

In the same way, we who are "heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ" (Romans 8:17) recognize that all that we say and do impacts all those around us. As we lay claim to the promises of Scripture we do so with an understanding that these blessings are not to be squandered in satisfaction of our desires, but rather enjoyed for the benefit of our family, friends, and "neighbors" (see Luke 10: 29 ff). Assuming that we even claim the promises of our inheritance. Far too often we allow them to lie dormant and unclaimed for want of discovery.

From Psalm 19 (ESV):

7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the Lord is clean,
enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.

As an heir of God, recognize that you have a responsibility to be a good steward of your inheritance. Let us dig deep in God's Word and draw out that which is richer than all the gold on this planet. May the "great reward" be not only ours, but also that of those with whom we interact during this earthly pilgrimage.

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