Long ago, someone asked industrialist John D. Rockefeller how much money it would take to make a person happy. He responded, “Just a little more.” The truth is, possessions never made anyone happy.
There isn’t enough stuff to fill the human need for contentment and security. God made us in such a way that when we give ourselves to Him, to our loved ones and neighbors, our work glorifies Him even as it benefits others. Jesus spoke about this in the story of the Rich Fool. (Luke 12:13-21) A certain man’s crops came in far more abundantly than he ever expected, but rather than share the excess, or invest it wisely, he horded. The man built bigger barns to store his possessions and decided to take life easy; his focus was inward, on himself. God considered him a fool. He said, “This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” (12:20, NIV) Jesus concluded, “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” (12:21, NIV)
Most Americans enjoy a much higher standard of living than people in other eras or other parts of the world—not even the French or Russian kings in all their splendor had central heating or refrigerators. During the Great Depression, Americans often demonstrated great generosity toward their neighbors. In one family with 10 children and nothing but a pot of beans for dinner, the mother sent one of the children next door to make sure the neighbors had enough to eat before serving the meal. Christians know that we are most fulfilled when we share our possessions with others, whether we have a little to share or a lot. We have the added blessing of knowing that gifts for God’s work produce a harvest that enriches others’ lives both here and hereafter.
Jim Elliot was a determined young man who wanted to give his life wholly to God. He trained to become a missionary to the Auca people in Ecuador. He gave his life there, speared to death by the tribesmen he hoped to reach with the gospel. It was a risk he took when he undertook that mission, but he accepted it. He once wrote in his journal, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” Certain of his place in eternity, Elliot poured everything he had in God’s service. Unlike the Rich Fool, Elliot’s heart was rich toward God.
Most of us will not be called to sacrifice our lives, like Jim Elliot, but all Christians are responsible to God for our attitude toward, and use of, our possessions.
If you would like to discuss the ways God is leading you to use the resources he has blessed you with, feel free to contact us at any time.
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