Money, and the “things” God has provided for us were always meant to be gifts or tools for man’s enjoyment and use. When man was created, only God was worthy of a place in man’s heart. When sin entered into man’s heart, the fight was on for throne of our heart.
The very “things” that God gave us as gifts,
now threaten to become more important to us than the Giver.
And this indeed has occurred in the majority of people’s hearts. Christians are not immune so it benefits us to learn what God has to say about material possessions and know the hidden dangers of prosperity.
No amount of money will ever make an unhappy person happy; or a discontented person content.
Ecclesiastes 2.10-11 Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, For my heart rejoiced in all my labor; And this was my reward from all my labor. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done And on the labor in which I had toiled; And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun.
If you are discontent right this moment, you are a discontented person, period. Whatever “if only” you have in your mind is a lie.
- If only I had a bigger house; if only I had a better job; if only I had more money
- If only I had different relationship; if only I could have more fun
In Ecclesiastes, King Solomon takes away all our “if only’s”. He was rich beyond our wildest imagination. He set out to have/do/experience everything life offered with no limits. When done, he declared that it is all a waste of time without God.
If you cannot learn to be contented and happy with what you have right now, at this very moment, you will never be happy with any amount of money or “things”. You can believe God’s Word and save yourself some heartache, or you can learn it at the School of Hard Knocks.
Prosperity causes you to “need” what you never needed before.
Hebrews 13:5 – Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (NKJV)
As money and material possessions increase, so does our desire for them. The older you are, the more you should be able to see this. Think of all the things you have now. Ten, twenty, thirty years ago… would you have dreamed you would have them, or need them?
Societies as a whole experience this too. A hundred years ago, food, water and shelter were considered necessities. Fifty years ago we added plumbing, electricity and transportation to the list. Thirty years ago, we added appliances, TV and air conditioning.
Today the list of “necessities” is embarrassing. They include numerous electronic items, microwaves, VCR’s, fashionable clothes, a NICE car, makeup, sports equipment and on and on. Don’t believe me? Do an informal survey of the younger generations. Better yet, how uncomfortable would you be reducing your life to basic food, clothing and shelter?
Increased prosperity causes us to “need” things we never needed before, whether individually or as a society.
Ask God for just the right amount – not too much, not too little
With each “bad and ugly” truth we want to balance it by giving a Godly perspective on money so that we can replace sinful attitudes with righteous ones when it comes to “things”.
Proverbs 30:7-9 – Two things I request of You (Deprive me not before I die): Remove falsehood and lies far from me; Give me neither poverty nor riches— Feed me with the food allotted to me; Lest I be full and deny You, And say, “Who is the Lord?” Or lest I be poor and steal, And profane the name of my God. (NKJV)
The Biblical definition of “poor” is to not have enough food or resources to get through TODAY. To be “prosperous” meant to have enough for today and not have to worry about whether or not your needs would be fulfilled. To be “rich” meant to have more than you need for today.
By those definitions, only the poorest of the poor today are “Biblically poor”. The majority of people are rich in God’s eyes. It doesn’t matter if we change the definitions or not, God’s truth is still the truth. We change the definition of “poor” based on lifestyle, not based on true necessity.
When it comes to material possessions, the writer of Proverbs instructs us to pray for “prosperity” but it’s God’s definition, not ours. “Lord, don’t make me so poor that I have to steal and bring shame to your Name. But don’t give me so much ‘stuff’ that I don’t need You anymore and forgot that I depend on You”.
Or in other words, “Lord, give me just the right amount of money to live a Godly life and do Your will; but not so much that material possessions hinder my need and love for You”.
Gracious God, You give us so many wonderful blessings, and yet we are in danger of allowing those blessings to become our greatest love, instead of You. Help us to be content and to see money as the gift and tool You meant for it to be. In Jesus Name, amen.
Contemplation: Which “thing” is the one thing that is keeping you one step away from being content? More money? Getting out of debt? A bigger house? A vacation? What do you “need” today that you didn’t need 5 or 10 years ago? What do you “need” that your parents and grandparents didn’t need? What is your prayer to God concerning money? Is it always “more”?
Application: The issues of money and possessions consume a large part of our time and emotions. So it is profitable spiritually for us to learn God’s perspective and His mindset when it comes to money. The gift should only point us to the Giver, not draw us from Him.
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?