We began our new series: “Possessions: Who Owns Who”
Our Life Groups have been going through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, and we wanted to use the experience as an opportunity to spend some time considering what God has to say about our stuff.
Our time of community praise:
Lord I Lift Your Name on High
All in All
Our first teaching was titled: “My Stuff Owns Me, When I Think I Own It”. We explored the truth that as finite beings, everything we possess is just being taken care of by us until we die, and someone else takes over. Equally, as finite followers of Christ, we are not only temporal in our ownership, but realize that all things were created by God, for God, and that we are simply appointed to its use to accomplish His purpose for it.
We live in a day when that there are two mainstream extremes proposed as the way God views our stuff:
1. God blesses those who are faithful to Him with more and nicer stuff (TBN and Joel Osteen being the poster preachers of what has become known as “prosperity gospel”)
2. Those who volunteer for, and even seek out poverty, achieve greater spiritual insight and status (Gandhi, Buddha, those choosing a monastic lifestyle)
The rest of us exist somewhere in between these extremes, and tend to lean toward one or the other. We often have reactionary theology: we don’t want to be something, so we emphasize the opposite of it in our own beliefs. In the middle of avoiding what we do not want to be, we forget what God says.
As I understand it, God says my stuff is neutral. It is the value, or priority I place on my stuff that determines its spiritual effect. Does a man with a 70k Cadillac need to sell his car because God says it is sin? How about the guy with 6 broken down cars sitting in his front lawn? It is not the quality or quanity of what I possess, but the value of it in my heart.
God says He owns everything, and He appoints us to its use for glory, and our enjoyment. When I accept His blessing, and then use it to replace God as the primary joy and desire of my heart, it is sin.
This is a tough journey with alot of detours, and roadstops, especially for an American.
We have come to the conclusion that our direction is simple and difficult:
-Understand anything I possess was allowed by God as a blessing to me. The Christian life is one of perpetual gratitude
-Understand my stuff to be a tool, not an entitlement
-Use what I have been blessed with as a tool in accomplishing the plan of its true Owner