POSSESSIONS IN THE LIGHT OF ETERNITY
In his 1989 inaugural address, President George H. W. Bush said, “My friends, we are not the sum of our possessions. They are not
the measure of our lives.” Yet culture
is saturated with the idea that our contentment, happiness, and identity are
determined by the possessions we have.
Whatever our economic status, we stretch our finances to acquire the
best we can in homes, furniture, technology, transportation, and various kinds
of ‘toys.’ Retailers continue to present
us with a never-ending supply of new products so we forever feel the need to
accumulate more ‘treasure.’ Obtaining
more possessions is driven by the desire for self-gratification. If we could only live to accumulate
enough! The question we need to ask
ourselves, however, is, “Could our possessions—and we not know it---come
between us and God?”
We were lost possessions but rescued and bought at an infinite price, an act that even angels did not understand."
God promises to
supply our needs but He also gives us possessions for two other reasons. One
reason is that our possessions are to be used as an agent of philanthropy; and
the other is that they are to be used for sharing the gospel. Philanthropy extends needed help and strives
to make life better for the human race.
The spreading of the gospel seeks to present salvation in a lost world
so that humanity may choose eternal life.
In being stewards of God’s possessions, and in the enunciation, “Lay up
for yourselves treasures in heaven,” we find a positive mandate for an
unselfish heart that embodies our involvement with both philanthropy and
salvation. Matthew 6:21 states, “Where
your treasure is there your heart will be also.” We are fortunate that when Satan tempted
Jesus in the wilderness “…Christ resigned the treasures of the world. His treasure was the salvation of humanity
and a heart of love took Him to the cross.
We were lost possessions but rescued and bought at an infinite price, an
act that even angels did not understand.
So, what do we do
with all the precious stuff we call our possessions? We can begin by asking ourselves: “How
important are my ‘treasures’ to me?” How we value our possessions reveals the
attachments and inclinations of our hearts.
Possessions often lead the heart.
What we consider of value captivates the heart and commands our
allegiance. This is why it is so
important that our possessions stay in the Lord’s hands. If we decide that God has our possessions,
our heart will follow. Dedicated and
committed Christians must learn to wisely use their possessions in the support
and advancement of God’s work. This is
our business as stewards.
The followers of
Christ have a choice that is not easy to make.
That choice must be spiritually educated and developed. This decision will show the difference
between being self-centered or un-selfish and if it is made with God or without
Him. The choice of how we manage our
possessions shows who is master of our life.
Even a tax collector wrote and understood what Jesus meant when He said,
“No one can serve two masters….You cannot serve both God and money” Matthew 6:24. Living in a world that offers wealth and
immediate gratification that strengthens the selfish heart, is antithetical to
the choice of dedicating our possessions to Jesus, our Master. While our possessions are not evil in and of
themselves—just inanimate objects—it is easy to begin to think that our
possessions belong to us instead of to God.
The question that must be answered in this spiritual dilemma is this:
‘Do our possessions come between us and God?’
It requires prayer and the realization that the world is temporary but
God is eternal. We tend to evaluate and
make decisions from this world’s point of view—because we can see, feel and
touch things, as opposed to God whom we cannot see—but blurred spiritual
eyesight never makes the best investment.
The difference is to be conquered forever by the world, or to be
conquerors that can see eternal values.
The question persists: Could our
possessions come between God and us? Probably.
Do they have to? Not really. The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche
said, “Possessions are usually diminished by possession.” There is really only one possession that will
not diminish by my possession of it, and that is eternal life with Christ. What makes it so good? It lasts forever! Keep the value of your possessions priced in
the light of eternity.