Trunks came out of cellars and attics, each filled to overflowing with crisp bills. Money! Beautiful money! The paper that separated the have's from the have-not's, the comfortable from the shivering, and the secure from the beggars. How smart they were to have stored it for such a day as this!
The government that had issued all this beautiful mammon no longer existed. Currency is only as good as the power who issues it and despite appearances, the losers of the Civil War were dirt poor. Their trunks full of Confederate bills may as well have contained newspapers. Bills that could have bought a mansion a few months ago was now used as toilet paper.
Do you have an attic full of worthless currency?
Maybe you've spent your life--or a major portion of it--chasing that dream.
Make my million. Be a self-made man. Never live in want again. Give my kids everything I never had.
Or maybe it was never an obsession, just a focus. Go to work, pay the bills, charge more bills, go back to work. Gotta have that new iPad. Kids begging for an Xbox and that new Dodge Charger is sweet...
Or maybe it's not money you crave. Maybe it's admiration. Fame. Power. Self-importance. And you've found a way to get it. It's addicting, isn't it? The more you get, the more you want.
Christians are not immune to such a focus. We live in the same world the atheists inhabit; we just don't have to play by the same rules. We have a God who reminds us that it is pointless to stuff our attics with Confederate bills.
Jesus' warning in Revelation 3 to the church at Laodicea is famous. If you've been in church for any length of time, you've doubtless heard a sermon on the Laodiceans and their failings, as well as the famous line: "I wish you were either hot or cold, but since you are only lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth!
So what's wrong with being lukewarm? Isn't that better than cold? Isn't a passing nod toward Heaven better than an outright rejection?
Jesus doesn't think so.
As the famous saying goes: "The opposite of love is not hate. It is indifference."
Atheism is totally in the dark. Agnosticism is still wondering. But lukewarm indifference has seen the light, tasted the glory, felt the warmth of embrace-- and has chosen a counterfeit over a relationship with the living God. No wonder God hates it.
The warning in Revelation mirrors the first Commandment: You shall have no other gods before me.
God doesn't share his glory or attention. If you're not all for Him, you are against Him. Period.
Instead of crossing the insipid Laodiceans off his list, He gives them another chance to repent. He instructs them to dump their boxes of Confederate bills and invest in treasure backed by an infallible kingdom. One by one, we stand before His inscrutable eye as he inspects our treasure. In his mercy, he wants none of us to be found empty-handed.
If you find yourself living in Laodicea, it's not too late. You're not bankrupt until that final trumpet sounds. But time is short. If you've wasted much of it stuffing worthless paper into sacks and hiding them, maybe it's time to have a big bonfire.
Jesus promises that if you open the door, He will come in and help you get rid of the stuff that doesn't matter. He'll show you how to replace it with solid gold.