Thus, where your treasure is, there also your heart will be.
Stuff, stuff, and more stuff… We fill our lives with stuff, we fill our homes with more stuff, and we fill the homes of others with even more stuff. In and of itself, stuff is not bad—we need stuff to survive. We need food to eat; we need water to drink; and we need shelter and protection from the elements. All of that is stuff. Certainly, some have more stuff than others, but it still is stuff. Frankly, I like stuff; I cannot deny it, but I would suggest that God also likes stuff. Roughly 6,000 years ago, God decided to create, well, stuff. And not only did God create stuff, but he pronounced it, “good.”
The problem with stuff is not the stuff itself, but what we use it for. Often, our stuff just collects dust. We fall into a trap of wanting to have stuff and more stuff just for the sake of having the stuff. Even worse, we find ourselves embattled with others, each trying to gain and secure more and more stuff than the other. Our lives begin to be consumed by the pursuit of stuff. Where does it all end!?!
Ultimately it does come to an end. There will come a time when all of us will die and leave behind our stuff to others. Death is the great equalizer as someone once said; we all die and we cannot take any of our stuff with us. Where we go next is not dependent on the stuff we have or even on what we have done with our stuff; where we go is dependent upon the finished work of Jesus Christ and whether or not our name is in his great Book of Life.
So, if my salvation is neither dependent upon the stuff I have nor upon how I use it, what does it matter? Jesus has some words to this question, because while your salvation is not dependent upon anything but Christ’s finished work, Christ’s finished work in your life should affect what you do with your stuff in this life. We are taught two major lessons about our stuff in scripture. The first is that God blesses us with stuff primarily so that we can be a blessing to others—not only in how we share our stuff with them, but in how we share our stuff with them for the purpose of sharing the Gospel.
The second thing we learn from Scripture is found in this verse—our heart will dwell with what we treasure. Now, for the Hebrew culture, the heart not so much reflects the passions as it does the personality and mind—in other words, the thing that you think about all of the time will be what you treasure. For the Christian, our minds and thoughts ought to be on Christ and upon God’s word; sadly, we often are tempted to fall into the trap of pursuing more stuff and in that pursuit they become consumed. The Apostle John warns about this trap:
Do not love the world, nor that which is in the world. If a certain person loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all of the things in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and arrogant living-is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away as well as its lusts. Yet, the one who does the will of God will continue living eternally. (1 John 2:15-17)
So, the question is not so much about the stuff, but it is about the heart. Have you set your heart upon God and upon the things of God or is it on the stuff that those who live in this world set their hearts upon. If, then, your heart is set upon God, the stuff that you have and accumulate in this life becomes rather secondary. And when stuff is secondary, using it to bless others becomes second nature. All our stuff comes from God anyhow, let us use it as an evangelistic tool and not an end in and of itself.
Posted on March 31, 2010, in Expositions, Pastoral Reflections, Pensees and tagged 1 John 2:15-17, accumulation of wealth, book of life, God's creation, Good, Heart, love of God, love of the world, Matthew 6:21, salvation by Grace, Stuff, treasure, using wealth as an evangelistic tool, wealth, work of Christ. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.
Very good, Win. I have always believed that our stuff is to share. Of course, when Dad and I kick the bucket, you and the other kids will have to figure out where you are going to put your new stuff. 🙂 Mom
Oh my. While that may be true, I am banking on you guys procrastinating on that final trip home for a long while. 🙂
Love you, w.