I’ve had the pleasure of reading a booklet this week, which is actually a rather lengthy sermon once given by the Puritan William Greenhill, entitled Stop Loving the World.
A point Greenhill makes about halfway through is that while we’re not to love the world (1 John 2:15), we are not forbidden to use it – and if we are to use it, then we are to use it rightly. We’re to be people who “use this world, as not abusing it.” (1 Corinthians 7:31)
As it happens, this has been a topic of much discussion in my circles lately (debating one facet of the issue or another). It seems that many of us wonder, as Greenhill posed the question: How does one use the world rightly? When does a man so use the world as not to abuse it?
Greenhill answers this question with 6 points. I’d like to share one in particular with you for tonight, as it’s something that has been a struggle of mine and as well as others I know (though, indeed, all of the Christian walk is a struggle, a battle). Let’s think on this as we go about our daily tasks this week:
To use the world rightly we must:
[Be able to] give a good and cheerful account to God concerning what we have had in the world. God gives some men great portions and some men less portions; everyone has something. We must use our gifts, our resources, and our relations so that we can give a good account to God. It will be said before long to every man and woman, “You have had a spouse, children, parents, brothers and sisters, health, strength, and the like. Come, give an account of your stewardship.” When we so use the things we have in this world that we can give a good and cheerful account to God, we have not abused the world but used it in the right way.*
Let us each evaluate our stewardship of the gifts God’s given us. Our relationships. Our time. Our intellect. Our health. Our resources. Our eyes, ears, mouths, and hands.
What have we wasted? What have we spent well, or cherished well, or invested in well?
Are we giving all that we are and all that we have to the chief end of Glorifying the One True God who made and sustains it all? Anything else is an abuse.
*Stop Loving the World by William Greenhill, edited by Jay T. Collier p.36