One of the things I requested as a Christmas gift a few years ago was a magazine subscription. A few months later I received the latest edition of ‘Stuff’ – which proudly boasts that it’s ‘the worlds biggest selling gadget magazine’. It featured everything from the very latest mobile phones , cars and an £800 video surveillance quad-copter (and that’s just what was featured on the front cover that month). Delving inside to the contents page revealed features on games consoles, apps, games, tablets, albums, USB chargers, TVs, fashion accessories, bikes, gardening gadgets, synthesizers and even a water tower.
I don’t know about you but I don’t have much need for most of those things (however, I’m pretty sure I’d have some great fun with a video surveillance quad-copter!). But I love getting the magazine and reading about all that ‘stuff’. Partly because I like & am fascinated by technology, but because I’m convinced that my life would be better with all those things in it. I don’t spend lots of money on gadgets, because I don’t have a lot of money, and I have a young family. But if money was no object, I’d love to get my hands on all those things (except the gardening gadgets – you can keep those, thanks).
Jesus said ‘your heart will always be where your treasure is’ (Matthew 6:21 CEV). He was talking about the fact that we store up our treasures here on earth where they can be damaged and stolen. Instead, He said, we should store up our treasures in heaven – because nothing can damage or steal them. We have to be so careful that we don’t become obsessed with people & ‘stuff’ here on earth. And it’s not just about ensuring that things can’t be damaged or stolen. There is a fine line between desiring something and worshipping it.
If I gave you a cashpoint card and told you that the bank account would never run out, what would you buy with that money? Your answer to that question will give you a good idea about the state of your heart & your faith.
‘You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.’ – Exodus 20:4-6 NLT [emphasis added]
It is so easy for us to create idols that we ‘worship’. We long so much for the latest pair of trainers, or the newest game/games console, the blingiest watch [yeah, blingiest is a word ;o) ], or the hottest dress. We long for them to the extent that we start to worship them – we believe they will improve or even complete our lives. But our desire to have them gets in the way of us living our lives and remembering what’s important. We can even go as far as to base our own sense of self-worth on whether or not we have them – that somehow we’ll be better people, more lovable, more desirable, if only we had ‘that thing’.
As I flick through my new copy of Stuff magazine, I’m going to remember that any possible benefit from owning anything contained within its pages is of momentary value. It doesn’t change who I am or what I’m worth, but if I’m not careful, it could change my relationship with Jesus if I let it get in the way.
– if I had £100,000, what would be my spending priorities?
– what do I desire so desperately that I’m putting it before my relationship with Jesus?
– what do I own that I could give away, or sell and use the money to bless someone in need?
Father God, shake me up and realign my values with Yours.
Lord Jesus, help me to store up treasures in heaven, rather than cluttering up my bedroom/wardrobe.
Holy Spirit, come and change my heart, and help me to see my possessions & money as a way to bless others.