What is materialism? Materialism doesn’t just happen when someone has a lot of money or stuff. You can be materialistic and be middle class or even poor. Materialism is having the wrong attitude about possessions, which means your possessions possess you. It means you love things more than people and more than God. Materialistic people may hoard money and things. Saving and investing for the future is wise, but hoarding is unhealthy and un-Godly. Materialistic people use others for gain, rather than having their best interest at heart. Materialistic people often allow their money and possessions to give them a false sense of security. In the midst of self-indulgence and self-gratification, they lose sight of what matters and are lulled into a false sense of security. No matter what or how much you have, it won’t save you when illness or tragedy happens. In James 5, he warns those who are rich to beware, because misery is coming to those who have a skewed view of wealth and riches. Against the backdrop of this world, we are all rich—we have clothes to wear, food to eat and a roof over our heads. So Christians, be good stewards of what God has given you. It isn’t yours!
Lk 12:48, 16:9; 1 Co 16:1-2; 2 Co 9:11; Js 5:1-5; Mal 3:10
Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you.(Js 5:1) If you are given much, much will be required of you. If much is entrusted to you, much will be expected of you.(Lk 12:48) “I tell you, make friends for yourselves by using the riches of the world that are so often used in wrong ways. So when riches are a thing of the past, friends may receive you into a home that will be forever.”(Lk 16:9)
What you do with your wealth is defining. Throughout history nations at the pinnacle of power and wealth have fallen first internally because they became selfish, focused on personal pleasure. Moral decline followed, then the collapse of the nation. You have more than you need, and God hasn’t blessed you so you can have a worry-free life, live an affluent lifestyle, or leave a big inheritance for your children. God hasn’t given you more than you need so you won’t have to work and can unplug and just hang out. God has given you more than you need so you can leverage it for eternity. God wants you to hold things loosely. Remember it all came from Him. Support ministry. The tithe (10%) of what you earn should go to your local church—where you worship regularly. This isn’t something churches made up to raise funds; this is what God’s Word says. You may think that when your ship comes in, you will give generously to others and to God. The fact is, if you are not faithful with little, you won’t be faithful with more. It’s not a matter of money; it’s a matter of the heart. Only two things in this world are eternal, God’s Word and people. Everything you give away on this side of eternity is being deposited into your account on the other side. Use what you have to invest in God’s Kingdom.
In what ways do you feel you are a good steward? How do you need to improve? (Using all of your resources wisely is part of stewardship.) Do you know someone who is overly self-indulgent? What affect does it have on those around them? In what ways are you self-indulgent? If someone looked at your Christmas spending, would they think you are a good steward? What does a good steward look like to you?
Write down a list of your acts of generosity in the past year. Consider what this list says about your stewardship. Write a list of generous acts you commit to fulfill in the next 6 months.
All that I have and all that I am is yours, Lord. Help me to be a good steward of my time, my talents and my treasures. I want to build an eternal account that will make a difference in people’s lives. Give me wisdom to manage what you’ve given me in a way that is pleasing to you. Help me to care for and respect this beautiful planet and all that it provides for humanity. You are the Creator of all things. Thank you for being my God and my Redeemer! In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.