Luke 17:26-30, “...as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.”
These verses, speak of the Lord’s day, which remind us of our moving day! Praise God! It won’t be long till we will be leaving here! Jesus taught that the conditions which prevailed on Noah’s and Lot’s “moving day” shall also be prevalent preceding our Lord’s return for the Church and His revelation to Israel. All the buying, selling, and building are very descriptive of the materialistic age in which we are living.
On moving day when we leave one place for another, we are prone to say, “What are we going to do with all this stuff?” Now, if we have much of the so-called earthly goods and we cannot use them where we are relocating, it is just stuff. Stuff is an accumulation of material things. The Greek “skeos” can also be translated “things, goods, possessions, substance.” Two main questions come to mind: “What are we doing with our stuff?” and “What is our stuff doing to us?” Stuff is a hindrance to swift travel. “In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back” – Lk. 17:31. You cannot take it with you! The Apostle Paul says: “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and Let us run with patience the race that is set before us” – Heb. 12:1.
Where do you keep your stuff? In the house? In the field? Where does your stuff keep you? In the yard, garage, or on a lake? It is great if it has you on your knees in thankfulness, or at the feet of Jesus! “Remember Lot’s wife!” When Lot and his wife were practically dragged out of Sodom, God said, “Look not behind thee.” The same day…it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.
Some civic-minded people today try to help the ecology, attempting to clean up the cities’ water and air. Most do not know of God’s recycling program. “The elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolver, What manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness?” – II Pet. 3:10-13. Fire tells us of coming judgment. We either leave our stuff behind, or we stay behind with our stuff and get burned with it to a certain degree.
Apostle Paul spoke of “forgetting those things which are behind” – Phil. 3:13. Where are we looking? What gets the most of our attention? As the song says, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” Jesus said, “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” – Lk. 12:34. We find that “a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” – Lk. 12:15. It is that which possesses us that counts for eternity, rather than what we possess of the earthly goods. Set over against heaven’s treasure, earth’s stuff is just junk which moth can corrupt, and thieves can break through and steal – Mt. 6:20.
We have heard the saying, “One man’s junk is another’s treasure.” But what is our stuff doing to us? If what you have of material things has you, holds you, controls you, or hinders you in God’s things – if it constrains you from God’s perfect will for your life, in God’s opinion – it is just stuff, and poisonous stuff at that. You had better lay it aside, or loosen your grip on it, or Satan will use it to put a noose around your neck. I am reminded of the method they have used to capture monkeys. They cut a hole in a coconut just large enough to get an open hand in, but not large enough to get a closed fist out. They attach the coconut to a tree and put nuts or other inviting goodies inside. Now, when the monkey reaches in and once gets a grip on that stuff inside, he does not want to open his fist and turn loose. So he is caught. The devil is making a monkey out of most of God’s people today. Oh, beloved, do not let him rob us of a full inheritance, by giving us a mess of pottage!
Our Father does not always give us everything we want, because He knows what it will do to us. Some things will hinder and even enslave us. He knows just what we can be trusted with. While one person will use what he has for the glory of the Lord, another will be hindered spiritually by that very same thing. Even in the service of the Lord, responsibility or accomplishment will sometimes be allowed by us to block our route to God’s best, Our wise Father knows best.
“The Word of the Lord also came unto me saying, Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not…prepare thee stuff for removing, and remove by day in their sight…it may be they will consider…Then shalt thou bring forth thy stuff by day in their sight, as stuff for removing: and thou shalt go forth at even… as they that go forth into captivity” Ezek. 12:1-4. Ezekiel was a sign to Israel that a moving day was coming. We may also be a sign today, to the world and the Church, by Our attitude toward our stuff. We may be a sign to all about us, that we are about to be “delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” – Rom. 8:21. The attitude of rebellion in the world and in Christendom is to us a sign of the nearness of Jesus’ coming. Are we preparing to move? Our moving day is at hand.
Some in the Old Testament used their stuff for a hiding place. Joshua 6 & 7, we read of Israel’s victory at Jericho. God told them of the spoils not to take for their own the vessels of iron and brass nor silver or gold, for it belonged to the treasury of the Lord. Achan and his family took that which belonged to God and hid it among their stuff. They were stoned and burned. Joah tried to hide from God and in turn, was hidden from everyone. When he learned his lesson, he said, “Salvation if of the Lord” Jonah 2:9. Let us not attempt to hide that which belongs to the Lord among our stuff. Sometimes we hear preaching which is a perversion of the Gospel, a message of personal attainment and accomplishment, that which tries to intermingle human merit and human effort with a Message of Divine Deliverance. This is building with wood, hay and stubble. It will be judged and burned. God will not have it. No one is going to get by with taking to himself that which belongs to the Lord. No flesh is going to glory in His presence. Will a man rob God? Some have tried, but it does not pay.
“And the Lord answered, Behold, he hath hid himself among the stuff” – I Sam. 10:22. The Lord knows right where we are. Saul, who became king of Israel, was called “a choice young man, and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he….” The Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied” – I Sam. 9:2; 10:10. Yet, he tried to hide the fact that he was anointed to reign; and when Samuel came to announce him as king he hid among the stuff. Let us not try to hide among the stuff. Let us believe and say what God says about us. Admit the truth about our old nature, and rejoice in the truth concerning the new nature. Those of means, today, often try to hide among the stuff. I speak of the bright, talented, gifted, and wealthy; but they are just as corrupt, polluted, depraved, and poverty stricken as any other human being, having the same ungodly drives and desires. (I Cor. 4:6-9)
The Apostle Paul severely chides such: Why do you boast? “What hast thou that you didst not receive?” Their stuff made them smug, complacent, and indifferent. They were full of self and reigning, but not on the right throne. There is quite a difference in their reigning and Paul’s reigning. He reigned by grace, not by goods. I Cor. 13:1-3 mentions some of the stuff that people hide behind. Though I may be a gifted public speaker, without Divine love I say nothing. Having all understanding, all knowledge, and all faith, yet without love I am nothing. Philanthropy without Divine love will get you nowhere with God. It does not count. It profits nothing.
In the Laodicean letter, Rev. 3:14-22, the present prevailing conditions of Christendom are described. Jesus is on the outside of most religions, and knocking to get into the individual heart-door. We see how distasteful this condition is to Him, “I will spue thee out of My mouth.” He will have no fellowship with such. Jesus has described clearly the materialistic attitude that is so very repulsive to God. “Thou sayest, I am rich, increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” Materialism is so blinding to spiritual reality. Their stuff made them self-sufficient, self-centered and spiritually blind. But by faith, we may purchase and enjoy pure fire-proven gold, partakers of the divine nature II Pet 1:4. White raiment: Clothed in Christ’s own righteousness now and eventually in robes of glory. Eye salve: The Holy Spirit illuminating vision, so we see clearly the full beauties of our precious Lord. We see as He sees, looking from His point of view. The four living ones had eyes, “before and behind” – Rev. 4:6. They could see the future, the past, and the present. With this eye salve we may look into the future and see those “things which God hath prepared for them that love Him” – I Cor. 2:9. We may also have a clear understanding of the past; but right now we may look within and see if we are in anything other than perfect minded – Phil. 3:15. Jesus spoke concerning externalism, an outward show to cover an inward shabbiness. Materialism is occupation with temporal things to the neglect of the eternal. How should we invest wisely? “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” – Mt. 6:20. Read Heb. 10:32-35, they took joyfully the spoiling of their goods knowing they have a better and enduring substance in heaven, exchanging the temporal for eternal treasure.