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It’s easy to pay too much for your whistle.

It’s easy to pay too much for your whistle.

SEPTEMBER 15, 2022

/ Programs / Key Life / It’s easy to pay too much for your whistle.

Steve Brown:
It’s easy to pay too much for your whistle. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
It’s for freedom that Christ set us free and Key Life is here to bring you Biblical teaching that encourages you to never give it the slavery, again. Our teacher on Key Life is Steve Brown. He’s an author, broadcaster, and seminary professor who’s sick of phony religion.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible, open to the 16th chapter of the book of Acts, a part of our study in this book. And we’re looking at Lydia, the first convert in Europe and an amazing lady and an old friend of mine, and I’m taking pleasure in introducing her to you. We have seen that she was a woman after God’s own heart, and that was God’s doing it was not hers. We have seen that she was an outsider, she was marginalized, she was looking for a place and she discarded every other place and ran to Jesus. Listen, God wants you to feel comfortable in your church, it’s your family. He wants you to feel good about your biological family, it’s your family. He wants you. If you work for a place where it feels like family, he wants you to enjoy that, but that’s not your place. Your place is in him. And once you get that, there’s amazing piece to be found there. And then something else I wanted to show you, I would have you notice that Lydia did not allow the enticements that surrounded her to stand in the way of her relationship with God. And then it didn’t keep her from running to Jesus. Look at Acts 16:14.

One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods.

Now, why does that, why does that peak our interest? Let me tell you cause Luke included it to say, this is a rich woman. She has more money than God. She’s got everything. This was kind of a key phrase to say, this is a business woman, who’s making a lot of bucks. I had a friend, I’m not going to tell you her name, but I loved her and she’s in heaven now. And, she owned almost all of the coastline of a particular state in New England. And she lived, she looked kind of homeless, but you, and people let that fool them. They never realized that this woman was very, incredibly wealthy. One evening, I was her pastor, one evening, she banged her leg on a table and she called me, it was like one o’clock in the morning. And she said, Steve, this is not good, would you take me to the emergency room at the hospital? And I said, of course, let me get a pair of pants on I’ll come get you. And so, I went and got this elderly lady and took her to the E.R. And I’ll never forget that evening, the attendant there in the E.R., looked at her and figured this woman is a nobody. And they treated her like a nobody, you know, people, she was kind of ignored, she was put on the bottom of the list. Finally, somebody came out and called her name and said, come with me. And she went back, and I went over to the attendant and I said, let me tell you something, despite what she looks like, that woman has more money than you can imagine, in her pocket book. And if she decided to, she could buy this stupid hospital and fire you on the spot. And if I were, you, I’d be a little bit nicer to her. And she said, thank you sir. And she left, and then the doctors started coming out of the woodwork. I mean, everybody was giving her their time and their attention and their concern and she was kind of amazed with it. Well, let me tell you, Lydia was like my friend. Lydia had everything, but everything didn’t keep her from running to Jesus, that statement tells us that Lydia was wealthy. One of the most dangerous things about the Christian faith is that it is good for business. And some people become Christians because it is, it really is, one time somebody asked my mentor, my late mentor Fred Smith, if one could be a Christian and be a successful businessman. And I’ll never forget his answer, he said, I don’t know how you can be a successful man or woman if you’re not a Christian, but a lot of people are drawn to the Christian faith because they see those who have been successful and then they become successful. And that becomes their idol. Someone has said.

Mammon holds the last outpost. Christianity has not been able to conquer.

And I have a friend, his name is Charlie Morgan, and he’s a lawyer and he dealt a lot with wills and bequests and things like that. And he sits on a number of foundation boards. Charlie said, you know something Steve I’ve learned. I said, what have you learned? He said.

Avarice is the last sin to die.

He said, you will be talking to somebody who’s terminal, under hospice care. And as his or her lawyer, I say, let me tell you some things that will help after your death, with your relatives that are going to receive your inheritance. And he says, almost always they kick against the goads. Almost always, they don’t want to let it go. Almost always, they want to hold on the last dollar with everything they’ve got, until they die, that’s important. Kipling said this, he was speaking to a large graduating class at a university and he said this.

Someday you will meet a man who cares for none of these things.

And he pointed to the university and the money that was poured in, and he said.

And then you will know how poor you are.

Mark Twain said one time, to a group of men where you was speaking.

One time you’ll meet someone who has absolutely nothing and are happy. And you will know that you paid too much for your whistle.

Now, you know everything I just said. I know everything I just said. And yet still it draws, doesn’t it? Still, our stuff makes a difference, doesn’t it? Do you ever make a decision in your life that contradicts the stuff, where you could lose the stuff, where you might get into trouble financially? You ought to do that once at least every five years. And you ought to do it just to check and make sure that you, like Lydia, didn’t allow your stuff to get in the way of your relationship with a God of the Universe. I Timothy 6:6 through 10 says this.

There is great gain and godliness with contentment, where we brought nothing into the world and we cannot take anything out of the world, but if we have food and clothing, with these we shall be content. For those who desire to be rich, fall into temptations, into a snare, into many senseless and hurtful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs.

Listen, I’m old, I’m doing the best I can, in reading this Scripture, but you get the point. And I’m not railing against, you’ve got to be poor, live a homeless life, give everything away. But I am saying be very, very careful. Lydia, by God’s grace knew what was important. She knew that Jesus was important and her cloth business was not nearly as important. She knew that God was everything and that the house where she was temporarily living, no matter how big it was, was not everything. One time, I think it was Aquinas. It was being led through the riches of the church by the Pope. And the Pope said.

We have long since stopped saying, gold and silver have I none.

And Aquinas said.

And we have long since stopped saying, rise up and walk.

And Wesley was in a similar situation and was being shown a mansion of one of his supporters. And he said under his breath.

These are the things that make it hard for a man to die.

Lydia knew that, you know that too. And so do I. I’m just reminding you and you ought to ask him and I should too, to remind us often. You think about that. Amen.

Matthew Porter:
Thank you Steve. That was Steve Brown. And that was also the end of our exploration of Acts, for this week. Remember if you missed any episodes, you can stream those for free anytime at And of course, tomorrow is Friday Q&A, that’s the time each week when Steve and our friend Pete Alwinson answer the questions you’ve sent in, don’t miss it. So, what do you do for a living? That’s a common question, right? We ask it of strangers because someone’s job, we think, goes a long way in defining who they are. But defining ourselves by what we do, instead of who we know, means our self worth is tied to our performance, instead of who we are as a son or daughter of God. Well, our good friend Justin Holcomb wrote about this in a special mini-book called appropriately enough, what Do You Do for a Living? If you ever struggle to understand your identity and value apart from what you do, we would love to put this mini-book into your hands, for free. Just call us right now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that mini-book. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to

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