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Jesus Is Better Than Our Stuff

by Borden Church of Christ Blog

Copied with permission from Borden Church of Christ BlogSpot.

In the sermon on the mount Jesus tells the disciples not to lay up their treasures on earth to be destroyed by moths, rust, or to be stolen by thieves, but rather lay them up in heaven, and where their treasure is found is where their hearts will be also (Matthew 6:19–21). He goes on to tell them not to worry about what they will eat, drink, or wear, because their lives are more than food, and their bodies more than clothing. He points to reality that the birds are fed by the same God that clothes the flowers in all their splendor. His summary advice, “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:25–33).

Jesus himself had no possessions or even a place for which to lay his head (Matthew 8:20). He issued a spiritual test to a rich young man to sell all he had, give the money to the poor and follow Christ. The young man failed the test and went away sad. Though not impossible, he said it would be hard for a man with great possession to enter into heaven. His brother James taught that God had often chosen the poor in this world to be those who were rich in faith, and said they would be the heirs of the kingdom of God (James 2:5).

After the time of Christ, the apostles would live according to his teachings and under persecution many would sell homes, land, and material goods in order to share with those who were in need (Acts 2:45, 4:32–37). Paul said that leaders in the Christian faith are to be free from sordid gain and free from the love of money which is called greed (1 Timothy 3:3,8, Titus 1:7, 1 Peter 5:2). Finally the apostle Paul pointed to the latter times before Christ’s return, and predicted that God’s people would turn from loving God and become lovers of money, greedy, hoarding wealth up for themselves (1 Timothy 6:10, 2 Timothy 3:2).

One could easily conclude that the best thing for a faithful follower of Christ to do is to avoid any dealings with money or possessions. But is this what Christ is really calling us to? I don’t think so. Though I would affirm the prominence of spiritual wealth in the Christian life, the bible likewise speaks at times of the blessings of material wealth.

In the Old Testament God blessed many of his followers with great wealth and possessions. Abram was very rich in livestock, as well as precious metals like silver and gold. (Genesis 13:2). His son Isaac was also blessed of the LORD and given a great wealth of land, possessions, and livestock (Genesis 26:12–14). King Solomon said that, the God who gives his people great wealth and possessions, also gives them the power to enjoy them. At the same time each person is to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil. That is a true gift of God (Ecclesiastes 5:19).

Likewise in the New Testament we are not led to believe that money or possessions are inherently evil, but rather the love of money and the constant craving to get rich is what is to be shunned. Those who have been blessed by God with material wealth should never despise that blessing, they are to receive it with joy, but must also heed the warnings that come with the blessing of great wealth. Mark’s gospel reminds us it would be of no profit to a man if he were to gain all the possessions of the world, and in the process forfeited our very own soul (Mark 8:36–38).

So is it wrong to be constantly increasing our possessions and buying and acquiring more stuff? I would encourage us to evaluate our attitudes and thoughts concerning material goods by asking ourselves some questions. First we must ask ourselves, if we own the things that God has allowed us to acquire and possess, or if they own us? For example, many people own homes, but when we live beyond our ability to pay for our home, it ends up owning us. Instead of being a place to enjoy, raise a family, and find rest, it becomes a burden on the family and permits the owner no rest.

Whether it is homes, cars, trucks, boats, campers, a timeshare at the beach, membership at the golf club, the hunting club, some seasons tickets at the sports arena, computers, phones, technology, or a wallet full of maxed out credit cards, we must not allow our possessions to possess us. Remember owning stuff is not the problem, just like having money is not. Rather it is the attitude of our hearts and the ultimate value we place on our stuff that can become a problem. In the end we must honestly ask and answer the question; does our love for stuff take the place of our love for God? Ultimately Jesus is far better than our stuff.

 




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I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33