Married for the money – something worth reading

Hello all- a friend of mine sent this email forward to me, and I felt it was worthy of reposting here for all to see.

Now, I don’t know who Dr. David Ryser is or what he’s about, but I do know that this was worth reading… I added some emphasis.

_____________

THE QUESTION that CHANGED MY LIFE

-by David Ryser.

A number of years ago, I had the privilege of teaching at a school of
ministry. My students were hungry for God, and I was constantly searching
for ways to challenge them to fall more in love with Jesus and to become
voices for revival in the Church. I came across a quote attributed most
often to Rev. Sam Pascoe. It is a short version of the history of
Christianity, and it goes like this:

Christianity started in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to Greece and
became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution; it moved
to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and became an enterprise.
Some of the students were only 18 or 19 years old–barely out of
diapers–and I wanted them to understand and appreciate the import of the
last line, so I clarified it by adding, “An enterprise. That’s a business.”
After a few moments Martha, the youngest student in the class, raised her
hand. I could not imagine what her question might be. I thought the little
vignette was self-explanatory, and that I had performed it brilliantly.
Nevertheless, I acknowledged Martha’s raised hand, “Yes, Martha.” She asked
such a simple question, “A business? But isn’t it supposed to be a body?” I
could not envision where this line of questioning was going, and the only
response I could think of was, “Yes.” She continued, “But when a body
becomes a business, isn’t that a prostitute?”

The room went dead silent. For several seconds no one moved or spoke. We
were stunned, afraid to make a sound because the presence of God had flooded
into the room, and we knew we were on holy ground. All I could think in
those sacred moments was, “Wow, I wish I’d thought of that.” I didn’t dare
express that thought aloud. God had taken over the class.

Martha’s question changed my life. For six months, I thought about her
question at least once every day. “When a body becomes a business, isn’t
that a prostitute?” There is only one answer to her question. The answer is
“Yes.” The American Church, tragically, is heavily populated by people who
do not love God. How can we love Him? We don’t even know Him; and I mean
really know Him.

… I stand by my statement that most American Christians do not know
God–much less love Him. The root of this condition originates in how we
came to God. Most of us came to Him because of what we were told He would do
for us. We were promised that He would bless us in life and take us to
heaven after death. We married Him for His money, and we don’t care if He
lives or dies as long as we can get His stuff.
We have made the Kingdom of
God into a business, merchandising His anointing. This should not be. We are
commanded to love God, and are called to be the Bride of Christ–that’s
pretty intimate stuff. We are supposed to be His lovers. How can we love
someone we don’t even know? And even if we do know someone, is that a
guarantee that we truly love them? Are we lovers or prostitutes?

I was pondering Martha’s question again one day, and considered the
question, “What’s the difference between a lover and a prostitute?”
I realized that both do many of the same things, but a lover does what she
does because she loves. A prostitute pretends to love, but only as long as
you pay. Then I asked the question, “What would happen if God stopped paying
me?”

For the next several months, I allowed God to search me to uncover my
motives for loving and serving Him. Was I really a true lover of God? What
would happen if He stopped blessing me? What if He never did another thing
for me? Would I still love Him? Please understand, I believe in the promises
and blessings of God. The issue here is not whether God blesses His
children; the issue is the condition of my heart. Why do I serve Him? Are
His blessings in my life the gifts of a loving Father, or are they a wage
that I have earned or a bribe/payment to love Him? Do I love God without any
conditions? It took several months to work through these questions.
Even now I wonder if my desire to love God is always matched by my attitude
and behavior. I still catch myself being disappointed with God and angry
that He has not met some perceived need in my life. I suspect this is
something which is never fully resolved, but I want more than anything else
to be a true lover of God.

So what is it going to be? Which are we, lover or prostitute?
There are no prostitutes in heaven, or in the Kingdom of God for that
matter, but there are plenty of former prostitutes in both places. Take it
from a recovering prostitute when I say there is no substitute for
unconditional, intimate relationship with God. And I mean there is no
palatable substitute available to us (take another look at Matthew 7:21-23
sometime). We must choose.

-Dr. David Ryser

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