By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of [for] Christ greater riches than the treasure in Egypt; for he looked to the reward, Hebrews 11:24-26 (NKJV).
One of the Puritans is the source of this post’s title. He made the point that Moses thought serving God, (and, please note, the writer of Hebrews says that he was serving the Lord Jesus Christ,) serving God as a member of a captive, slave populace, was worth more than the treasures of Egypt, even though it led to exile and reproach. Remember, Moses spent 40 years in the splendor and riches of that great, ancient empire. We marvel at the relics scattered throughout museums around the world. Some are able to travel to Egypt and see the marvels of the pyramids and Great Sphinx for themselves. Moses lived there.
Besides, he was the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, and perhaps was in line for the throne, or, at the very least, he could be in a position of great power and authority, power and authority which he could use to improve the conditions of his people. Think what he could have done along that line –
if social reform is what “serving God” is all about.
He turned his back on all that, as well.
What does this say to, and about, “Christians,” at least in 2013 America?
Not much, and yet, too much.
We want the air conditioning and the padded pews. Nice buildings, conveniently laid out. Stained glass windows. Coffee machines. A well-delivered, but not too long, sermon. An early service time, so we still have the day to do whatever, eat out, watch football, whatever. Theatrics, bright lights, what someone has called, “the trappings of religion.” The right kind of music. Loud, percussive. Health, wealth. Happiness.
Granted, there are those, even in this country, who suffer for their faith, perhaps not to death, but suffer, nevertheless. Certainly, in other countries, martyrdom for the cause of Christ is not uncommon. It just isn’t the stuff of news at 6:00 PM.
Then there are those who believe that all our problems would be solved if we could just get rid of social injustice. Granted, social wrongs should be made right, but that’s not the thrust of the Gospel. Social reform wants to take the man out the slum; the Gospel wants to take the slum out of the man. Move the man, he takes the slum with him. Convert the man, he takes care of the slum himself. The Gospel is not about solving social problems; it’s about solving sin problems – which are the cause of social problems. The Gospel cures the disease, reform just puts a bandaid on it.
Then there are those who believe that if we could just get the right man into political power…. There is nothing wrong with Christians taking part in the political process; the old saying is true that evil triumphs only when good men do nothing. It’s just that when “the Church” has political, or civil, power, all sorts of evil happens. That’s the genius of our Constitution, the separation of church and state. [This, by the way, isn’t the same as the separation of church from state, as it is contended today. The church has a great deal to say to the government; the government has nothing to say to the church.] Just look at the Inquisition by Rome and the persecution and slaughter of Anabaptists by the Reformers. Christ never meant for His church to have political power. Our power is from another world, not this one. You cannot legislate righteousness. Immorality, yes; righteousness, no.
Had all we look for today, and more.
Turned his back on it all
for a far greater treasure:
the reproach of Christ.