For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.
Jeff Ferrera of Waukegan, Illinois, called his bank to find out his checking account balance. You can imagine his surprise when he heard the electronic voice say: “Your checking account has a balance of $924,844,302.32.” What Jeff Ferrera did not know was he and 826 other customers of his bank were the victims of the worst banking mistake in US history. The First National Bank of Chicago had accidentally transferred more than $726 billion, six times the total worth of the holding company, to over 800 customers. Jeff Ferrera joked that people told him to transfer it to the Cayman Islands and make a run for it. But like most others, he reported the error.
Have you ever thought what would it be like to discover that you were an almost-billionaire? I know money does not erase problems, but a billion dollars sure would put those problems into perspective! Stresses at work, financial pressure, even mundane irritations of everyday life would all have a new perspective if you had a billion dollars. Well I have got some great news for you: If you are a Christian, you are far wealthier than you realize. You are the heir to a fortune that makes Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates look like paupers, and that wealth has been transferred to your account not by mistake but by the act of God when you trusted in Jesus Christ as your Savior. Our wealth in Christ includes victory over worry, power over temptation, the restoration of broken relationships, and triumph over death. You say: If those things are really mine, if they are in my account as a Christian, then why aren’t I experiencing those things right now in my life?
The writer of Hebrews answered that question in Hebrews 2. This letter was written to encourage Jewish Christians who were being persecuted for their faith. Because of their persecution, they were being tempted to go back into Judaism. The writer of Hebrews said: Do not give up your faith in Christ. Why? Because your present circumstances do not reveal your true wealth.
Let me illustrate that for you. Imagine you go to the gas station and purchase a lottery ticket. One Saturday night, you have the television turned on as they call out the winning lottery numbers. Suddenly you realize you are the recipient of $500 million! On the back of the ticket, there is a number for you to call. You call that number, and an answering machine says: “Our offices are now closed, but if you have a winning ticket, bring your ticket to the office on Monday morning to redeem the ticket.” What would you do with that lottery ticket in the meantime? Would you throw it away as worthless because it did not immediately pay off? Of course not! You would guard that ticket until the office opens on Monday and you could claim your wealth.
The writer of Hebrews was saying to these Hebrew Christians: Your Christian faith may not seem valuable to you right now, but do not throw it away because there is great wealth that will one day belong to you. Our present circumstances do not reveal our true wealth.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Parable Of The Lottery Ticket” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2013.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.