by Dorette Saunders
Sometimes, without meaning to, we end up being trapped by stuff. More clothes than we can wear. More food than we can eat. More rooms than we can live in. Perhaps we don’t recognize how foolish this all is until we read, and laugh, about someone having a house with ten bedrooms and eight baths. “How ridiculous,” we scoff, but the truth is, in comparable ways, we are no better.
The Bible warns us about making stuff our god. About being so engrossed in amassing things that we forget to thank God who “blesses us with everything we need to enjoy life” (1 Timothy 6:17, CEV). And, in our distraction, we forget to share our blessings with those around us.
The apostle Paul, in his training of his protégé Timothy, teaches him that those who make riches their goal “fall into all sorts of temptations and traps. They are caught by foolish and harmful desires that drag them down and destroy them” (v.9).
Is having possessions wrong? Of course, not. But when those possessions “have” us and blind our eyes to the wonders of God, to the needs of others, and to neglecting that which is important to God, then those earthly riches become problematic.
In a world that is fueled by consumerism, it is little wonder that we become like frenzied hamsters on a wheel, trying to earn (or even swindle) more, and juggle tons of stuff to either keep up with the Joneses or to become the Joneses ourselves. The Bible warns that we need to be content with what we have since “we didn't bring anything into this world, and we won’t take anything with us when we leave” (v.7).
It’s a sobering thought. Take a moment to reflect on it.
Everything we have is God’s. We are merely stewards of our King. It is not our money, but his. How we use and manage it should reflect God’s will and be aligned with God’s Word. How different our lives would be if we would commit our financial plans to God. How different our churches would be if we harnessed our time, talent, and resources in ways that honor God!
The Bible is not lax in its counsel on how we can be corrupted by greed. “The love of money causes all kinds of trouble. Some people want money so much they have given up their faith and caused themselves a lot of pain” (v. 10).
Do you have a healthy relationship with money or does it control you? How about the stuff that you own? How attached are you to it? Are you always seeking more?
If you struggled with answering the questions, consider this. How should we respond in a world where we are groomed to claw our way to the top, or told that the “one with the most toys wins”?
The apostle Paul gave Timothy a clear directive.
“… you belong to God…. Try your best to please God and to be like him. Be faithful, loving, dependable, and gentle. Fight a good fight for the faith and claim eternal life” (vv. 11, 12).
Our response is to be content. To recognize God as our source. To choose to live out our faith so that our lives on this earth will be pleasing to God and a testimony to those around us.
PRAYER: God, stuff often gets in the way of us serving you wholeheartedly. Break our addiction to things and the temporary pleasure they bring us. Help us to fix our eyes and our hearts on lasting treasure, and our eternal home. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.