Yesterday we reflected on how my thoughts and reasoning based on God’s truth and in the flow of His Spirit, can mingle with thanksgiving to build, grow and strengthen my Faith. We saw how Abraham, our Father of Faith (Romans 4:16), used his mind and reasoning to feed his faith, and we remembered how thanksgiving is a key practical way to feed our minds with truth about God and His promises to us, which will in turn strengthen our Faith. Thanksgiving therefore is certainly not a trite or superficial alternative to thought and reason as some might have claimed.
Today lets go back to Hebrews 11 again and read about someone else who used his brain and reason to help himself grow in faith, make difficult choices, do great things with and for God and fulfill his destiny. I would like to do that too!
Moses is that man. In Hebrews 11:24-26 we read that Moses choose to go God’s way and refused to go on with a golden, privileged, pleasure filled life as Pharaoh’s grandson. It was a ‘hard’ choice because clearly he had to refuse the multiple benefits of privilege, and embrace mistreatment and disgrace as a result of going God’s way. Verse 24 is clear that he did this by faith.
But it was not mindless faith, blind optimism, or trite thoughtless belief that “it will all be alright” like in some Hollywood films. Look hard at verse 26. It talks about ‘Esteeming (AV) or considering (NASB/Amp) or valuing the reproach of Christ greater riches (NASB), greater value (NIV), greater wealth (Amp) than the treasures of Egypt’. I would like to suggest that Moses sat down and thought long and hard – He did a valuation, an assessment – I am sure his spirit and faith were to the fore in this process, but his brain, thought and reason were involved too. Remember we can see, from the discussions he had with God at the burning bush, that his emotions and initial thoughts about God’s plan were not too happy and he needed some persuasion. Exodus 3 and 4.
I love pictures and allegories. Do you think Moses read a heavenly ‘Which’ magazine at this point? Shall I choose the flashy 4×4 with all the bells, whistles and comforts, but the ‘Which’ report says it breaks down after 5 years and is hopeless off road? Or shall I go for the more expensive ‘land rover’ type, it will cost me all my savings, old fashioned maybe, fewer creature comforts, less ‘street cred’, but utterly reliable, goes everywhere with me and will last for ever? Which one will be more valuable to me in the long term? All of me, spirit, reason and emotions are in play here. Do you think that Moses read the heavenly ‘Which’ reviews of the relative merits of following God by faith through difficulty and reproach, against the flashy, enjoyable but temporary, pleasures of Egypt? And then having thought it through, and done a full evaluations and assessment, he made a faith decision on what was more valuable.
I hear echoes here of the parables Jesus told about the man who found a pearl of great price and valued it so highly to sell everything to buy it, and also the man who found hidden treasure in a field that he valued so highly that it was worth selling everything he had to buy that field. Matthew 13:44-46. Both parables speak strongly of the importance of the process of valuation in my heart, mind and spirit. And of course Faith is all interwoven in that because it is by faith that they, like Moses, made their true evaluation of the worth of Christ and following Him.
And thanksgiving? Well they say ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. So I suggest that the more I gaze on Jesus and remind myself with frequent gratitude and thanksgiving of all He means to me and all He has done for me and continues to do for me, the more my true evaluation of His value and preciousness will increase. The same will be true as I thank and adore my loving Heavenly Father and appreciate my beautiful helper the Holy Spirit. As my thanksgiving feeds on my assessment and valuation of their worth to me, so my appreciation of their worth will increase, the more I will want to stay close to Jesus above all else, growing to be like Paul who wrote “for me to live is Christ” (Phil 1:21) and “I want to know Christ… I press on to take hold of that which Christ Jesus took hold of me” (Phil 4:10,12)