By Michael Milton
Friday, September 01, 2006
Today I want to introduce you to two people you know well. I have heard the first man described like this:
He’s rich. Italian shoes. Tailored suit. His money is invested. His plastic is platinum. He lives like he flies — first class. He’s young. He pumps away fatigue at the gym and slam-dunks old age on the court. His belly is flat, his eyes sharp. Energy is his trademark, and death is an eternity away. He’s powerful. If you don’t think so, just ask him. You got questions? He’s got answers. You got problems? He’s got solutions. You got dilemmas? He’s got opinions. He knows where he’s going, and he’ll be there tomorrow. He’s the new generation. So the old had better pick up the pace or pack their bags.
He has mastered the three “Ps” of life today. Prosperity. Posterity. Power.1
Who is he? He is the top salesman in his district, making it up the career ladder. She is the rising lawyer who was just made a partner at her prestigious law firm. He’s the successful real estate broker who has more listings than he can handle — except he can handle them just fine. In the Bible, he is the rich young ruler. Until today, life for him has been hang gliding in a clear, blue sky — but he runs into Jesus. He has one question, What’s in it for me, and what do I have to do to get it?
Here is the second person. He is called. He is gifted. He serves as an elder and a Sunday school teacher. He knows his Bible. He is committed to the Great Commission. He shares his faith. He is a true man of prayer. He is raising his family in the faith. He is a disciple of Jesus Christ. That is what people think, and that is the truth. But he also struggles. He struggles with one question, What is in it for me? Since I have given You so much, what can I get in return? I want health. I could use more money. I just want You to make my kids turn out all right. I just want to retire early.
Who is he? He is every Christian who has come to think of a relationship with God as a deal — I will give You my life, but what do I get in return? To some degree he is probably all of us who have left all to follow Christ. In the Bible, he is Peter. Common to both the rich young man and Peter is the question that I am posing — What’s in it for me?
What’s in it for me is a major theme with some ministries that claim to be Christian. When I was finally able to do so, I turned on the TV in India and discovered a preacher who sounded like he was from Oklahoma (which is weird when you hear that accent on TV in Chennai, India). His message was that if you have faith in Christ, you will have wealth galore. I learned that if you just give more, God will heal more. If you give more to this minister from Oklahoma, God will give more to you. It all plays to the question on the heart of an unbeliever or a believer — What’s in it for me?