Materialism – What Are You Storing Up?

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keep your eyes on god - Copy

Materialism is the tendency to care too much for the things of this world and to neglect spiritual needs. It is a life focus that causes a person to be more concerned about what they have or wish to have than about what they are or what God wants them to be. There are materialistic people in every economic bracket.  A materialist is a person who cares too much for the things of this world and neglects spiritual needs – theirs and others. Many times a materialist’s self-interest determines their conduct or behavior. As a Christian we must guard our thoughts about the things of this world (money, things), consider our rewards in eternity, and guard our relationship with God.

Matthew 6:19-21  NKJV   

  “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  

I. Guard Our Thoughts About The Things Of This World

God, not man, decides who will be blessed. God is in control of everything, therefore we should not be jealous of others when God blesses them. There will be people that will go through this life materially rich and there will be people that go through this life materially poor. Many times God will give wealth and honor to the materially poor in other ways.

1 Samuel 2:7  NKJV    

“The Lord makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and He lifts up.”  

          Whatever situation we find ourselves in (rich or poor) the Bible tells us that godliness with contentment is great gain. It is not wrong to want a “better life” or “better things”, however it is wrong when it is at the expense of your soul.

 1 Timothy 6:6-10  NKJV   

  “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing  into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”  

          When a person places more emphasis on gaining riches than they do on their relationship with God (those desiring to be rich), it creates a lack of contentment and godliness within them that leads to greed. Greed will lead a person into temptation and creates a lust within them. Many times these material desires will lead a person away from God, costing them their very soul.

II. Consider Our Rewards In Eternity

We need to think about the rewards we will receive in heaven, not about acquiring a lot of things here in this life. This life and the things in it will pass away and the only things that will last forever are the treasures (and rewards) that we have laid up for ourselves in heaven.

Matthew 6:19-21  NKJV    

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  

         The above verse does not mean that it is a sin to have assets (insurance, retirement plans, savings accounts), but it does tell us not to give priority to gaining treasures here on this earth. Christians should be more concerned about laying up treasure in heaven than having treasure here on earth. We must not be like the rich man in the twelfth chapter of Luke who tries to hoard things.

Luke 12:16-21  NKJV    

“Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: ‘The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”                              

III. Guard Our Relationship With God

Some people neglect their relationship with God when they begin to accumulate a lot of things. In the end they will lose everything, including their soul. Wealth will not help in judgment.

Mark 8:34-36  NKJV       

   “When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, ‘Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his soul?” 

          When we stand before God, He will not be concerned with how much money (or things) we had, however, He will be concerned with our relationship with Him and our relationship with others. While pursuing wealth, did we love others? How did we treat people?

James 5:1-5  NKJV   

   “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of the Sabaoth. You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in the days of slaughter. You have condemned, you have murdered the just, he does not resist you.”  

          We must not mistreat others while trying to gain wealth. In everything that we do we must remember the two greatest commandments, love God and love others.

Mark 12:28-33  NKJV    

“Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, ‘Which is the first commandment of all?’ Jesus answered him, ‘The first of all the commandments is: `Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandments greater than these.’ ”  

Conclusion:

When God does bless you materially you must not become high-minded or proud. Nor should you put your trust in your money (riches). Each of us must remember that only God can provided for all our needs.

1 Timothy 6:17   NKJV   

  “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives to us richly all things to enjoy.”  

          Those who are materially wealthy are commanded to recognize and honor God as the source of their wealth. The blessings that God has given these people are to be used for the advancement of His kingdom, not for self-centered living. Their blessings are to be shared with others and enjoyed by many.

1 Timothy 6:18  NKJV    

“Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share”  

          Our obedience to God (even concerning money, blessings) builds a good foundation for the time to come (eternity).

1 Timothy 6:19  NKJV    

“storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”  

          A Christian’s works (deeds) will be evaluated in heaven.

1 Corinthians 3:13-15  NKJV  

   “…each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”  

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