EMP 2023 Day 5: Sean Choi

Ephesians 1:7.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace

This verse talks about the payment Jesus made for us “through his blood.”

Paul is referring to Jesus’ death on the cross as the sufficient payment for the sins of all who believe. What did this redemption cover?

It paid to release us from the eternal penalty and the earthly power of our own sins. This freedom was not “free,” since it was paid for by Christ’s death; it cost Him everything. As a result, for all believers, the ultimate price has already been paid. This is grace: the ability to become a child of God, because God provided a free way to know Him by faith.

God’s grace is mentioned in reference to money with the idea being that grace is of tremendous value. Grace is what is required for people to become sons and daughters of God.

I picked this verse because this verse had value that was translated to value in money since the verse uses the word “riches”. Rich = money? I’m thankful that I’m not in a position to skip meals or not being able to put a roof over my head, but money was something that was in my heart and started to become more of a concern lately. So I knew God was trying to speak to me with what was occupying a big part of my heart, something I desired.

Before I met Jesus, I thought money was the only way for me to gain freedom in my life. Thinking money gave me freedom from loneliness and powerlessness, I thought my life was broken because we didn’t have money.

Then a collection of tragic events happened. Those events turned my life upside down. Making me realize what I lost was something that was far more valuable than money. I saw how empty, meaningless living for money can be.

Then I met Jesus and money became something that was only needed to support my life as a shepherd. So I never put my heart and effort in what I did to make money. I did just enough to get by, nothing more.

Then my wife, kids and my birth mom came into my life. That changed my perspective a little.

Instead of any place to live, I needed a house where we all could live together.

Instead of just having enough money for me and my wife to eat, I needed to have enough money to feed my entire family.

Instead of any car that works, I needed a bigger car that can safely drive my family around.

Money became something I hoped-for again in my recent years. There were many times where I thought, more money would bring my family a little more joy.

Then my friend came to visit me for a few days. He showed up in a very expensive car with a whole bunch of money spent on the modification. That car cost more than me and my wife’s year’s salary combined, all paid for in cash, paid in full.

He bought my kids Jordans, when I would dress my kids with used passed down clothes and shoes.

He paid for all of our meals and ordered so much food that we couldn’t even finish, when I’m always trying to figure out how much we can spend on food, what to cook to save money.

And lastly, we went to a sporting goods store and he tried to buy me very expensive things that I couldn’t afford but only dream of getting for years.

That really did it for me, all the time that I stopped myself from thinking of my past comfort, it all came down on me that day.

Here was my friend of 30 years, who told me long ago that he envied my life, full of happiness, joy, and purpose that I’ve gained from following God. But this time when we talked, I don’t think I was happier than him. Let me rephrase it again, I think I envied the freedom he had with money because it was one thing that I didn’t have anymore…

He left right before we started our House church that week. After the worship, I realized there was this bitterness in my heart. I finally saw how easy it was for me to seek my life without Jesus for things that would not last past this lifetime.

This was so conveniently timed too. The day after Christmas, one of our biggest days for Christians, where we celebrate Jesus our Messiah. Where he came to be tortured, beaten, and died for our sin and for our eternal freedom yet I desired the world.

It’s funny that I found myself wanting to go back to my old life for a moment where it was filled with malice and loneliness in a life that glorified money. The very thing that I found was meaningless and worthless.

Now I have a life with a purpose for someone who would throw away everything to have me as their son, but I wanted to throw it away for a momentary comfort of this world.

Then I remembered what PD told Namoo about the value of money when he was in middle school.

I might not have translated well because he said it in Korean but it was along the line of:

“It’s not embarrassing not having money but what’s embarrassing is someone who lacks virtue, someone who isn’t able to discern right from wrong.”

before I met Jesus

I Hoped to get out of my unfortunate situation with money, free from uncontrollable situations and loneliness.

when I first met Jesus

I Hoped for Jesus to do great things through our House church with money I gladly spent, wanting to show HC members and VIPs the freedom God gives.

Now with the word that is given to me,

I hope to have an understanding of what his Grace means in our Christian lives. So I won’t be shaken by the temptation that the world might present, attacking my weakness, seeking freedom in our Lord Jesus Christ our savior through His grace.

Same word was used to describe the reasoning for different stages of my life. Money, Hope, and Freedom.

Although words may be the same, our understanding and definition may be different in each stage of our lives. I think it’s important not to think the answer you might have in your head is always going to be the same. Our situation changes, our circumstances change, and we change. I guess that’s what makes a mature person. Someone who is not quick to judge because we just might not know the full story. Sometimes I wish our life was like a video game. Where once you acquire the skills or knowledge, you’re able to keep it and not forget it.

Maybe the reason why God had me associate the riches of his grace with finance is because money or discerning value is my weakness I need to overcome this year. It may cause me to be bitter, tempted, and jealous at times. The fact that finance can bring that out of me, I may still have my hopes in the thought that money may set me free.

As I seek God with verses that are given to me, I pray that I can be at a place where I can see my worth and needs, not with riches of the world, but of the eternal heaven. Not remembering what I had which was connected to the world but what God will provide for me and my family in the future with heavenly treasure.

I pray this verse gives me a deeper understanding of the true value of my life.

Something that no money or treasures of the world can buy; God’s grace.