October 20, 2018

Earthly Goods

Throughout history, man has questioned why some are born into wealth and others into poverty. It is God who places us into a family. He selects our birth parents and knits us together inside our mother’s womb. Our placement remains a mystery but whatever our socioeconomic level may be, we can all grow where we have been planted.

“The LORD sends poverty and wealth; He humbles and He exalts.” 1 Samuel 2:7 (NIV)

“The Lord makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the beggar from the ash heap, to set them among princes and make them inherit the throne of glory.” 1 Samuel 2:7-9a (NKJV)

“The rich and the poor have this in common, the Lord is the maker of them all.”
Proverbs 22:2 (NKJV)

It is far more challenging to grow spiritually if we exist in a wealthy environment. When finances are abundant, there’s a tendency to seek less help from God. After all, why ask for assistance when money can take care of the problem? Instead of relying on God, the wealthy often rely on themselves and on their possessions. Self-reliance is a dangerous state of mind. It can quietly creep into our spiritual walks and corrupt our awareness of how much we need God. Our sufficiency should always come from God!

“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God.” 2 Corinthians 3:5 (NKJV)

“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 (NKJV)

“The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and like a high wall in his own esteem. Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty, and before honor is humility.”
Proverbs 18:11-12 (NKJV)

Earthly goods are indeed a blessing! However, we should always remember the source of our many blessings and extend our good fortune to others. Scripture clearly states that God, as the Creator of the universe, is the owner of all things. He grants us what we have but expects us to be good stewards of our resources. This includes time and personal talents in addition to our finances. All that we have been given should be used for His glory and purposes.

“The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”
Psalm 24:1 (NIV)

Earthly goods are given to be used, not to be collected.” ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God commands us to share with those in need. Many of us support missions abroad but there is a multitude of Americans who are also in need of our love, time, spiritual gifts, and money. A neighbor may be ill and in need of some companionship or a ride to the doctor. Maybe there’s a person in your life who needs some groceries. Those in need of food welcome resources on days other than Christmas and Thanksgiving. Many runaways are in need of shelter and a safe place to rest their heads. There are many who would praise God for a hot shower and a home cooked meal.

Consider how using your possessions and practicing hospitality might glorify God. What really matters is the purpose that possessions play in our lives. Are we looking to possessions for the meaning and security in our lives, or are we looking at them as
a means to bless others and fulfill God’s plan and purposes?

“Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
Romans 12:13 (NKJV)

“But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” 1 John 3:17 (NKJV)

“Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.” 1 Timothy 6:18 (NIV)

“Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” James 2:15-16 (NKJV)

“But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” 2 Corinthians 8:7 (NKJV)

“No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.”
1 Corinthians 10:24 (NIV)

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