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.  

John Mathews Stewardship Ministries Director North American Division
Dr. John Mathews, an ordained minister, holds a D.Min degree from Andrews University. He is a certified Stewardship and Planned Giving Specialist, and is passionate about teaching stewardship principles as they relate to the spirituality of money management in a postmodern culture. John is married to Janice Schram Mathews. They have one daughter and are proud grandparents. Stewardship Jack (Labra-doodle) is also an important part of the Mathews family, and star of the latest NAD Stewardship Ministries resource for children. John is an accomplished guitarist and enjoys playing and singing in country gospel concerts.