Material Possessions

Material things are the details of life that are really of only secondary importance. These include money, possessions, food, friends, popularity, pleasure, success, health, and education. All of these things will necessarily exist in our lives to some degree, but the Bible says they're not really important. How can something be necessary but not important? If something is necessary, doesn't that make it important?

Food is necessary for life, but we shouldn't make it the priority in our lives. Of course, we all take time to eat, and we enjoy fellowship around the table, but then we go on with the more important things.

Friends are necessary for fellowship and encouragement, but we shouldn't make them the top priority of our lives. Of course, it's good to have friends, but we shouldn't try to impress people to make them our friends.

What then is important? Our purpose is to glorify and please God. Our priority should be His Word which he has given us. We should study His Word so we know how to glorify Him. All these other things are simply necessary details of life.

Consider Matthew 6:19-33:

19 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. We shouldn't be concerned about temporary things on earth. We should focus on heavenly things that will last forever.

21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Each of us needs to examine where our heart is. People can tell where your heart is. They can just look at our lives. They can see what is important to us. You say you don't have time for Bible Study, but we see you wasting time watching TV or playing video games, or spending too much time making money.

24 "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. We each have to decide. Either we will serve God, and not worry about money, or we will spend our lives worrying about money and neglecting God.

25 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? We should stop worrying about things. After all, God will provide the things that we need.  Life is more important than food. If God gave us life, won't he also give us food to sustain that life? God even gives eternal life. He even gave His one and only Son, so we could have eternal life.

26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? A bird has to fly all day, every day, in search of food. But we have intelligence--soul and spirit. We're much more valuable to God than the birds. Yet, even the birds know they shouldn't worry.

27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Have you ever made anything better by worrying about it?

28 "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Do you know someone who has something that you would like to have? A television, better food, jeans, shirts, or a pair of tennis shoes? God clothes the flowers and the grass. How much more will he make sure you have clothes? We need more faith.

31 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. God knows exactly what you need. He knows you better than you know yourself. He knows what you will need tomorrow. You can't even be sure where you will be tomorrow.

33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. We must seek His kingdom, not ours. His is eternal, and ours is only temporary. We must seek His righteousness, not ours. He offers the righteousness of Jesus Christ, not our worthless human works.

34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Don't you have enough trouble without worrying about tomorrow? Isn't it enough of a challenge to glorify God today?

Now consider Luke 10:38-42:

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. Mary wanted to learn Bible doctrine.

40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" Martha was distracted by the details of life. She was angry because Mary wouldn't help her worry.

41 "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." Only one thing is needed. We only need to serve God and learn His word.

Job 23:12 says, "I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread."

Bible doctrine is the top priority in the Christian's life, or else he is a slave to the details of life.

Ecclesiastes 5:10-15:

10 Whoever loves money never has money enough; If you never have enough money, the Bible says it's because you love money. Whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. If you are not satisfied with your income, the Bible says it's because you love wealth. This too is meaningless.

11 As goods increase, so do those who consume them. If you have more goods, you will consume more goods. And what benefit are they to the owner except to feast his eyes on them? We should feast our eyes upon Jesus.

12 The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether he eats little or much, but the abundance of a rich man permits him no sleep. You will lose sleep if you worry about money.

13 I have seen a grievous evil under the sun: wealth hoarded to the harm of its owner, 14 or wealth lost through some misfortune, so that when he has a son there is nothing left for him. Misfortune can strike any of us. Sickness, accidents, and death can change our lives in an instant. Suddenly, everything you have accumulated can be gone. But God and His Word will still be there to sustain you. Where is your heart?

15 Naked a man comes from his mother's womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand. Our material wealth cannot be taken beyond this life. We need something that is permanent. Where is your heart?

You never know when this life will be over. In Luke 12:16-21, Jesus tells a story about a rich farmer. The farmer wanted to build bigger barns to store his wealth.

20 But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?' 21 This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God. In Job 1:13-19, we read about Job losing all of his cattle, camels, sheep, servants, children--all in one day. Verses 20 and 21 say, "At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said: 'Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.'"

Details can be lost, but they can also be replaced. However, God will always be true.

Colossians 3:2 says, "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things."

Where is your heart? If we pursue the details of life, and do not master them, we will perish. We need to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and He will provide the details for us. We won't have to worry about losing something of real value. The thing that is permanent is deep within our soul. The details will leave us sooner or later, but the Word of God will last forever.

Owen Weber