by Pastor Jerry Ingalls
Are you investing in what can be taken from you in a single hour?
I have heard stories of people losing great fortunes when the stock market crashed or when companies collapsed. Stories from the Great Depression are epic and many other stories from recessions resonate with the same harbinger. These stories are not just American or capitalistic in nature, there is transcultural reality to this dilemma of biblical proportions.
Where is your security? What is the direction of your life? In what are you investing your time and resources? Where is your heart? In whom do you place your allegiance and trust to meet your needs and find your sense of identity?
Three times in Revelation 18, John records the concept of “in a single hour” regarding the judgment and fall of Babylon, “For in a single hour your judgment has come” or “For in a single hour all this wealth has been laid waste” or “For in a single hour she has been laid waste” (Revelation 18:10, 17, 19).
As I meditate upon the final judgments of God’s Word as recorded in the Revelation of John, it strikes me that much of human accomplishment that took years, even generations, to build, can be destroyed or taken away in a single hour. This is true for not only our lives, but it is true for our communities and nations.
There is nothing more important than where we invest our time and resources.
First, because we will either invest in that which will last or we’ll invest in that which can be taken away from us in a single hour. Jesus proclaims this truth many times in His ministry, but nowhere more clearly than in the Sermon on the Mount when He states, “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” (Matthew 6:19–20).
Second, because where we invest shows where our hearts are and determines the direction of our life’s ambition. This truth is captured in Jesus’ simple words that have profound implications, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).
As I read Revelation 18, it is easy for me to dismiss this final judgment of Babylon as having nothing to do with my life. Just read the chapter and you’ll be confronted with the lies of your own heart that says things like, “I’m glad I’m a good person and that I don’t do that.” or even worse, “It is good that Babylon is getting what it deserves because I don’t deserve that kind of judgment.”
Listen to your heart as you read. How you view Babylon may not be how you view yourself, but it is how you’ll view your neighbor, our communities, and our nation. We all deserve this same judgment for this is the righteous judgment for sin (Romans 3:23; 6:23).
Thanks be to God for sending His one and only son, Jesus Christ, who has made a way for people to give their lives to something that cannot be taken away in a single hour! But how then shall those who believe in Christ live their lives and invest their time upon this earth?
For it is true that all who invest in the treasures of this earth will have those treasures taken away in a twinkling of an eye, in that single hour. But those who follow Jesus have been called to a different path, a narrow one, that causes us to invest our time and resources on a kingdom that is not of this world.
In what are you to invest your time and resources as a follower of Jesus Christ? What does your choice of investments ultimately say about the ambition of your life?
*Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text provided by the Crossway Bibles Web Service.