Buy Dirt

In my younger days, I was never much of a fan of country music. In more recent times though, I must admit to enjoying it much more. Not all of it is particularly edifying of course, so I’d advise you be selective (as with all things) if you tune in to country radio.

I heard a song the other day called “Buy Dirt” by Jordan Davis and featuring Luke Bryan. I will put a link below in case you are not familiar with it.

The song is about a younger man sitting down and sharing a coffee with an older gentleman, perhaps a grandfather. Over the course of their beverage, the older man shares some wisdom with the younger, and I thought I’d examine the wisdom given in light of Scripture with you today.

Chasing the dollar

When the older man asks the younger what he’s been up to, the younger replies that he’s been “chasing the dollar.” This is what prompts the wisdom sharing.

We cannot deny that all of us need money, and earning it takes up no small amount of our lives. Chasing after it though is a dangerous thing.

The Bible says:

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some have been led astray from the faith in their greed, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

1 Timothy 6:10 (WEB)

This does not say that money is evil, but that loving it is a root of all kinds of evil. Having too much or too little money can lead us into temptation. Loving money can even lead us away from our faith, so let each of us have a proper relationship with it.

Some devote their lives to earning and having more. To do this, they can sacrifice their health, their families, their friends and even their relationship with God. The thing is, when you are on your death bed, you are unlikely to ask for your accountant. Instead, you will be wanting the comfort of family and faith.

Do What You Love, But Call It Work

The older man advises the younger to do what you love, and call it work. This is a great nugget of wisdom in my view. It has been said that if you love what you do, you will never have to work a day in your life. This is so true!

There have been times in my life where I really did not enjoy my job, and those days were hard indeed! In more recent times, I have loved doing my job, and when that is the case, it does not feel like work at all.

We must remember it is a privilege to enjoy one’s job, as there are many who work to pay their bills and support their family, and “enjoyment” does not even come in to it.

As with all things, it is a balance. If you are doing a job you hate, then prayerfully consider a change. If you have little choice because of financial demands or to support those you love, then clearly I am not telling you to quit, do a job you love and face bankruptcy. Do what you need to do of course, but also do not feel trapped where you are. And look for opportunities to move towards a job that you love.

Throw a Little Money

At one point in the song, the advice is given to throw a little money in the church offering. While I do not want to overthink such a line, as it is clearly not a theological song, it does give you pause to think.

It is good advice to give, no question about that. The Bible is full of instruction for us to give to God’s work. Throwing a little money in the collection plate though is not the way we ought to be giving. That smacks of someone who is unprepared and just grabbing whatever they have in their pocket at the time. Our giving should be more purposeful than that.

Paul says:

Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I commanded the assemblies of Galatia, you do likewise. 2 On the first day of every week, let each one of you save, as he may prosper, that no collections are made when I come.

1 Corinthians 16:1-2 (WEB)

This instruction suggests planning on our part, and deliberate giving. Notice it is on the first day of the week, so that God is given to first and does not end up with whatever we have left over at the end.

Giving is also connected to the points above about working. We work, not for our own pleasure, but rather so that we might have something to share with the church.

In Ephesians, Paul states:

Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.

Ephesians 4:28 (NIV)

We work to support ourselves and our families yes, but we work primarily that we might have something to give to the family of believers.

Send Your Prayers Up and Your Roots Down

This gem of wisdom needs little explaining. Indeed, we ought to be sending up our prayers regularly. In fact, not just regularly, but at all times.

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word[a] of God; 18 with all prayer and requests, praying at all times in the Spirit, and being watchful to this end in all perseverance and requests for all the saints:

Ephesians 6:17-18 (WEB)

Likewise, putting down roots, in the context of the song at least, is about building your family in the community. As I write, I cannot think of a specific verse to quote here, but believe it is biblical for us to be a positive force in the place where we live. You could point to the Great Commission for instance on that one. I also feel that Christians should have a good level of commitment to the place where they live.

It All Goes By Real Quick

It sure does! Need I emphasise this point to you? Life is short, and goes by very quickly indeed! We must make the most of it, and never forget it is the preparation for all eternity.

In the psalms, we read:

You have made my days a mere handbreadth;

    the span of my years is as nothing before you.

Everyone is but a breath,

    even those who seem secure

Psalm 39:5 (NIV)

It may seem negative to point out the shortness of life, but I do not mean it to be. Even a life of 100+ years is short in comparison to all eternity. God is Eternal, unending and beyond time itself. Our handful of decades here is a mere blip next to the infinite life to come. Ensure you make the most of it while you are here, and be ready for the next!

Buy Dirt and Thank the Good Lord For It

The song is titled “Buy Dirt,” and says although you cannot buy happiness, you can buy a home and build a good life for yourself and your family. This is true, and while a nice house does not make a home, we can all do the best with what we have and make our lives worth living.

Throughout it all, when times are both good and bad, we thank the good Lord for it all. He has given us life, and our very breath is dependent upon Him.

Join me in thanking Him today for all the good things in our lives, and for what we have learned from the bad.

Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

Here’s the song, and I hope you enjoy it.

Don’t Give Up Giving

Giving can be a tough subject to discuss, and particularly at the moment with all the other issues going on in the world. However, a Christian who does not give is like a Christian who does not pray. Christians should be generous givers.

There are many individuals and groups struggling because of the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown. Churches are not immune to this, and I am conscious that many churches will see a large drop in gifts and offering to them. Churches depend on this giving, and so I want to encourage you today to not stop your giving just because you can’t physically be there.

Of course, if you have lost income because of the virus and its restrictions, then you must change your giving accordingly. No one expects you to be able to continue giving based on an income you no longer receive!

Let’s see what the Bible says, and do a short study of this passage from 1 Corinthians.

Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I commanded the assemblies of Galatia, you do likewise. 2 On the first day of every week, let each one of you save, as he may prosper, that no collections are made when I come. 3 When I arrive, I will send whoever you approve with letters to carry your gracious gift to Jerusalem

1 Corinthians 16:1-3 (WEB)

Paul, writing to the Corinthian church, gives some basic instructions about their giving to the work of the saints. He gave the same instructions to the churches of Galatia, and so I think we can apply it to our own church as well.

On “the first day of the week,” which was a Sunday, the people of the church should set aside the amount of money they wish to give. I believe that Paul chose the first day of the week for a reason. He wanted them to put God, and the offering to the work of the church, at the top of their priorities.

For many of us, giving is something of an afterthought. We arrive at church, rush in during the worship, and then scrabble around our pockets or purses to find a few coins to toss into the offering basket. This is not the way to give in a way that honours God.

Rather, Paul is encouraging them to prepare for giving, to pray about it, and to save the money in advance. In a similar way, we should be setting aside the money we want to give to our church and do that at the top of our budget. We should give first, then save, and finally spend.

Now we are not meeting together, we should not simply forget to give at all. We should be setting aside that money as before. If you can give by online means, then you can continue to give like that. If that is not an option for you, you can still save that money ready for when you can meet again.

Another version of the Bible translates verse two like this:

On the first day of each week, you should each put aside a portion of the money you have earned. Don’t wait until I get there and then try to collect it all at once.

1 Corinthians 16:2 (NLT)

This is perhaps much clearer than the WEB version above. What Paul is saying is that we should give according to our means. Those who have more, should give more, and those who have less should give less. When Paul wrote these words, there were no set salaries like we have, and people’s income fluctuated depending on their trade. We tend to be paid the same amount each week or month in a salaried role, so it’s a little easier to manage our giving.

Those who are self-employed or who do not have a steady income can give depending on how much they have earned that period. Those impacted by COVID-19 may have had their salaries cut drastically, or may have even lost their jobs. Paul is telling us to give in accordance with what we have earned.

There is a lot more we could say about giving, but let me repeat my main point today. Don’t give up your giving. Just because you cannot be together as a church does not mean they no longer need your gifts. Pastors and ministers still need their wages, bills still need to be paid, and churches depend on its members.

Be a generous giver, especially in these difficult times. Churches want to be there to help those in need, but without your support, they cannot keep going let alone help others.