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Friday, May 6, 2011

Our "Stuff" Is Really Not Ours

Although economic times are not the best these days, we are still a blessed nation with many resources.  Around the world, there are poverty-stricken nations whose people are suffering and dying from starvation, even at this very moment.  Having gone to a third world country in the past, I have seen poverty first-hand.  It was an experience that changed my life forever, and how I view the possessions with which I have been blessed.  Personally, I need more than material possessions in my life, because “things” do not last, nor do they satisfy my soul.
How important are material possessions to you?  It is not wrong to accumulate worldly goods, or even wealth, but how we view and use our possessions, does make a big difference.  The Bible teaches us the following truths:
The things we have accumulated in this life are not our own.  Everything that we possess has been given to us by a loving God.  He has given us intelligence and the ability to work in a job that provides an income.  In turn, this allows us to have access to the necessities of life for ourselves and our families. God has blessed many of us over and above the basic necessities.  What do we owe Him in return?  Based on the Holy Word of God, I contend that everything we have belongs to God; that we should acknowledge this truth and then be good stewards of what we have been given.
The Bible tells us that Job was a blameless and upright man who feared God and shunned evil (See Job 1:1).  Job also possessed great wealth and was a well respected member of his community.  Yet, in a very short time, enough calamities came upon him, that he lost all ten of his children, his wealth, health, and the respect of trusted friends.  However, because of his trust in God, Job never wavered from his strong faith and belief that God was in control of his life, even though he did not understand what was happening to him.  Job said the following in Chapter 1, verse 21: “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”  Job knew that his “stuff” was not his own.
Who we are is not determined by what we have in this life.  We should never try to define ourselves by the material possessions that we have.  Luke 12:15 tells us the following: “Then he (Jesus) said to them, “Watch out!  Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
I Samuel 16:7 says, “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at.  Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”  God does not care about our bank account, what kind of house we live in, what kind of clothes we wear, our popularity with the crowd, or any of the things that others see on the surface, but He looks on our heart to see if we have a heart like His.  He looks to see if we have a heart that is willing to give up everything if we had to, in order to follow Jesus.  He looks for a heart that is longing to know Him better and a heart willing to give to others as He has blessed us.  He looks for a person that is willing to give of his/her time, talents, and resources to spread the Word that Jesus Christ came to seek and to save those who were lost.
When we learn to be content with what we have, we will be able to rest in the fact that we know there is more to life than material possessions.  Our attitude can definitely lighten our load in this world.  If we become burdened down with discontentment of what we “don’t have”, we will miss a wonderful opportunity to be content in our hearts and souls.  There is a contentment that neither money nor things can ever buy.  It is the contentment that gives us rest at night when we are otherwise weary.  Through this contentment, God gives us the assurance that He does, and will always, take care of us. 
It would be best that we not trust in the importance of our material possessions too much.  When we die, we will take nothing with us. Whatever material possessions we have accumulated will remain here on earth.  While we are here, why not invest in something that will last.  If we can think less about material possessions, and more about how we can serve God, we will begin to make a difference in the lives of others.  Remember, we have all we need.  His name is Jesus. 
Note:  All Scripture taken from the New International Version of the Bible

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