“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.” GK Chesterton
We live in a materialistic world. It is all around us whether we see it in our neighbor’s possessions, from commercials telling us we deserve the good things, to some religious leaders saying that our faith will speak riches into our lives. We all know famously that we can’t take it with us and yet we continue to seek the riches of this world. All that we acquire, collect or obtain will not be coming with us when we are face-to-face with God.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21 ESV
But don’t we need worldly possessions such as housing, food, clothing, transportation, and basic things of life? Isn’t there comfort in worldly possessions? Does God want us to suffer while we live far from Home? And yet we know that money, and how we handle money, is a root of so many marital conflicts, jokes, suffering and evil whether we have too much or not enough.
And don’t we feel our anxieties fall away with purchases? The endorphin rush we get from buying stuff followed by the unpacking and setting up? Isn’t this a good thing?
Is there self-care in worldly possessions?
I have no answer to that question. Balance seems to be word that comes to mind. We should never grow too enslaved to possessions nor become homeless and dependent on others.
Jesus tells us “And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’” Matthew 6:28-31
“The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings for evil.” Matthew 12:35 ESV
And yet Solomon told us it is all a chasing after the wind, a vanity of vanities. .
He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes? Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep. Ecclesiastes 5:10-12 ESV
From a WebMd.com article "Compulsive shopping and spending are defined as inappropriate, excessive, and out of control," says Donald Black, MD, professor of psychiatry at the University of Iowa College of Medicine. "Like other addictions, it basically has to do with impulsiveness and lack of control over one's impulses. In America, shopping is embedded in our culture; so often, the impulsiveness comes out as excessive shopping." So even the secular world realizes that worldly possessions are not self-care.
So what are we to do? We must trust in Jesus and let him take care of us. Some will be blessed with more than you as God uses them to help those who need help. God will take care of you and your family, and life will be filled with joy and peace and love.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? Matthew 6:25-27
We are called to take care of our families and trust God to provide for all of our needs such as food, clothing, housing etc. When we are obedient to His instruction and head His calling for us, He provides not only our needed worldly possessions but blesses us even more so that we can also be a blessing to others. If all we do is strive to keep earning more, we will be like that rich man who wanted more and more in the parable Jesus told in Luke.
And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:16-21
The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
Trust in God.
Don’t make worldly possession your idol.