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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."

John



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.  

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October–December, 2012

God's Treasure