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Nothing in, Nothing Out

When I was in the UK last week, my family and I took an open-top bus tour of London. One of our guides was obsessed with telling us the value of properties. The week before, a parking space in London had sold for almost $350,000. A parking space!

He told us that many wealthy people bought multimillion-dollar properties in Park Lane and Belgravia but never lived in them. They just wanted the prestigious address for the top of their notepaper. Then there were the luxury hotels with rows of Ferraris, Porsches and Lamborghinis parked outside.

Finally we viewed the awesome landmark office buildings like the Gherkin, the Shard and the Walkie-Talkie. My younger brother works in the Gherkin, so we were privileged to get a trip to the viewing gallery. We were quite the embarassing contrast to the power-dressing executives and supermodel secretaries. But we got a fantastic view of the modern financial district as well as the more ancient landmarks like the Tower of London.

I couldn’t help thinking of all that power and wealth when I was preparing a sermon on 1 Timothy 6 late last week. There, in verse 7, we come across a label that God puts on every car, every house, every office, every dollar, ever title, every position, everything: “We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”

Nothing in, Nothing out

This is a label for all things, for all people and for all times of life.

When you are having a baby: What does that baby come in with? Nothing. What shall it leave with? Nothing. As Job said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there” (Job 1:21). We all enter and exit the same way. Nothing in, nothing out.

When you are deciding on a career: Don’t make money, salary and benefits the only consideration. Put this label at the top of every job offer.

When you want something too much: When covetousness and greed get a grip of your heart, loosen its deadly hands by putting this label on the object of your desire. “Nothing in, Nothing out.”

When you get something you’ve always wanted: Don’t make an idol of it. Don’t get too attached to it. It is certain we shall carry nothing out.

When you lose something valuable: It may be a well-paying job, an inheritance, a house, or many of your possessions are destroyed in a fire or taken in a robbery. It just got taken from us a few years earlier than expected. Nothing in, nothing out.

When you are tempted to do wrong to get more money: Is it worth it? For something you are going to have to leave in a few short years anyway?

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davidmurray@churchleaders.com'
Dr. David Murray is Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Seminary. He is also Pastor of Grand Rapids Free Reformed Church. David is the author of Christians get depressed too, How Sermons Work, and Jesus on Every Page. You can read his blog at HeadHeartHand.org/blog or follow him on Twitter @davidpmurray. David is married to Shona and they have five children ranging from 4 months to 17 years old, and they love camping, fishing, boating, and skiing in the Lake Michigan area.