Another benefit of giving is freedom. It’s a matter of basic physics. The greater the mass, the greater the hold that mass exerts. The more things we own – the greater their total mass – the more they grip us, setting us in orbit around them. Finally, like a black hole, they suck us in… We think we own our possessions, but too often they own us.. .Every item we buy is one more thing to think about, talk about, clean, repair, rearrange, fret over, and replace when it goes bad.
When you leave this world, will you be known as one who accumulated treasures on earth that you couldn’t keep? Or will you be recognized as one who invested treasures in heaven that you couldn’t lose?
It’s increasingly common for Christians to ask one another the tough questions: How is your marriage? Have you been spending time in the Word? How are you doing in terms of sexual purity? Have you been sharing your faith? But how often do we ask, “How much are you giving to the Lord?” or “Have you been robbing God?” or “Are you winning the battle against materialism?”
God is always trying to give good things to us, but our hands are too full to receive them.
Hold material goods and wealth on a flat palm and not in a clenched fist.
Materialism wars against our souls in a twofold manner. First it makes us discontent and envious of others. Second, it leads us to pamper and indulge our bodies so that we become soft and lazy.
That has always been the way of materialism, which is quite eager to reach heaven, but has no interest in heaven’s God.
He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.
Jesus warns us that in spending our lives we should be wise shoppers, guarding our hearts against the false advertisements of this world. For whatever we value most in life becomes our “treasure.” And our treasure becomes our hope. In turn, our hope determines how we act, since we always spend our lives on whatever we think will make us happy.
Tragically, many Christians spend precious little time thinking about their eternal home. Instead, they work themselves into oblivion building temporary homes and hideaways.
The key to liberation from the power of materialism is not an exodus from culture – abandoning Wall Street or leaving the wealth of the nation to others – but the grace of giving… Givers for God disarm the power of money. They invite God’s grace to flow through them.
Material possessions tend to focus one’s thoughts and interests on the world only. Wealth gradually enslaves those who are attached to it and perverts their values. The more we have, the easier it is to be possessed by our possessions, comforts, and recreations.
Materialism – buying things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t even like… If there is no fruit in our lives, and if our focus is on material possessions, we are probably not Christians. We have fooled others and, even more tragically, have fooled ourselves.
I place no value on anything I have or may possess, except in relation to the kingdom of God. If anything will advance the interests of the kingdom, it shall be given away or kept, only as by giving or keeping it I shall most promote the glory of Him to whom I owe all my hopes in time or eternity.
I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.
Perhaps the saddest observation of all is that the spending habits of people in the church differ little from those of the world. The lifestyles of most professing Christians are not substantially different from anyone else’s. Too many in the church have adopted the world’s indulgent attitude toward money. Almost every form of materialistic extravagance and excess has found its way into the fellowship of believers. It is as if the church has forgotten Jesus’ mandate to invest in eternity.
Quit being satisfied with little 2-percent yields of pleasure that get eaten up by the moths of inflation and the rust of death. Invest in the blue-chip, high-yield, divinely insured securities of heaven. Giving your life to material comforts and thrills is like throwing money down a rat hole. But a life invested in the labor of love yields dividends of joy unsurpassed and unending
If you don’t see the greatness of God then all the things that money can buy become very exciting. If you can’t see the sun you will be impressed with a street light. If you’ve never felt thunder and lightning you’ll be impressed with fireworks. And if you turn your back on the greatness and majesty of God you’ll fall in love with a world of shadows and short-lived pleasures.
The person who thinks the money he makes is meant mainly to increase his comforts on earth is a fool, Jesus says. Wise people know that all their money belongs to God and should be used to show that God, and not money, is their treasure, their comfort, their joy, and their security.
But does not the Old Testament promise that God will prosper the faithful? Indeed! God increases our yield so that by giving we can prove that our yield is not our God. God does not prosper a man’s business so that man can move from a Buick to a BMW. God prospers a business so that hundreds of unreached peoples can be reached with the gospel. He prospers a business so that 20 percent of the world’s population can move a step back from the precipice of starvation.
You know you are a practicing materialist if there is a certain amount of money you think you must accumulate, or something you believe you must buy, before you can be happy.
Material affluence in no respect lessens my need to rely on God. Actually, it increases it. I am in greater spiritual danger when I have plenty than when I have nothing. Hence the almost greater need of the wealthy to cry to God for mercy that they may not fail to trust Him.
So what does the Christ-honoring, non-materialistic family look like? They invest primarily in the things that will leave this world with them and as a team they are all on this same pursuit. They experience freedom and more time for the things most important because they have limited resources that they own in order not to be owned by them. They experience constant joy because the only source of joy they expect is from the Lord. They do not need to have stuff to impress others because the only person they seek to please is the Lord. They have no compelling love for the shadows of the world because their hearts see the true Substance, the beauty of God’s marvelous light. They have their priorities right: things are to be used and people are to be loved. They are content people following Christ and therefore have a great family because their mutual trust is not in material things which will let us down, but in the One who always delivers.
You say, “If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.” You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.
We want personal consecration. I have heard that word pronounced purse and all consecration, a most excellent pronunciation. He who loves Jesus consecrates to Him all that he has, and feels it a delight that he may lay anything at the feet of Him who laid down his life for us.
When we come to the end of life, the question will be, “How much have you given?” not “How much have you gotten?”
I counted dollars, while God counted crosses;
I counted gains, while God counted losses.
I counted my worth, my things gained in store;
And He sized me up by the scars that I bore.
I counted honors and sought degrees,
He counted the hours I spent on my knees.
I never knew until one day by the grave
How vain are the things that we spend life to save.
God has given us people to love and things to use, not people to use and things to love.