Preoccupied with Material Goods

Preoccupied with Material Goods

This subject is considered taboo by many. More often than not, those who refuse to engage with it are the ones who spend their time listening to prosperity preachers. By focusing on such messages, the risk is high that we stray from biblical principles. In writing this article, please note that I do not aim to trouble anyone, or perhaps you, as a reader, might think I am against people making money, but to clarify and correct our understanding when it comes to serving the Lord God Almighty.

Today, many so-called Christians are preoccupied and attached to material goods. We did not come to Christ to become millionaires. If, after becoming a Christian, you still have this mindset, you are not ready to serve Christ fully. Christ Jesus does not call us to pursue wealth; instead, He calls us to a life of devotion and service.

The primary purpose of following Christ is not to gain wealth or material prosperity. The Christian faith is about spiritual growth, devotion to God, and living a life of service according to the teachings of Jesus, rather than pursuing financial success or material riches. As a result, the true rewards of Christianity are spiritual and eternal, not material.

Do not get me wrong, I am not opposed to people owning things or having money in their lives. What I am opposed to is people starting to idolize money and material possessions over God, and it is so pathetic to see.

Having money in this world is not inherently bad. We need money to do important things, such as providing for our families, supporting the work of God, and helping those in need. However, the key is not to let the pursuit of money overshadow our commitment to God. Our primary objective should always be to serve Christ and live according to His teachings.

If you want to become a millionaire, think about getting organized by starting a business, working hard, saving your income wisely, and investing in something that will generate additional revenue.

It is important to recognize that financial success often comes from practical efforts and prudent financial management. Rather than expecting to become wealthy through faith alone or the promise of prosperity preached by some, focus on tangible steps that contribute to economic growth. Faith in Jesus is about spiritual and moral guidance, not a guarantee of material riches.

One should not rely solely on their religious faith or divine intervention to achieve financial success. While faith is important for spiritual and moral guidance, achieving wealth typically requires practical actions such as hard work, saving, and financial planning.

Financial prosperity is generally the result of practical efforts rather than relying solely on divine intervention. As followers of Christ, we should not expect miraculous provision or help from God without engaging in practical efforts.

Here are several Bible verses that highlight the conflict between serving God and pursuing wealth, and the call to live a life fully devoted to Christ:

– Matthew 6:24 (NIV):

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

– 1 John 2:15-17 (NIV):

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”

– James 4:4 (NIV):

“You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”

– Luke 16:13 (NIV):

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

– Matthew 16:24-26 (NIV):

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?'”

These verses stress the need for wholehearted devotion to God and warn against being overly attached to wealth.

Where in the Bible does it say God wants us to be rich?

The Bible does not explicitly state that God wants us to be rich regarding material wealth. However, there are some verses that prosperity preachers often interpret as suggesting that God desires material prosperity for His followers. Here are a few examples: 

1. 3 John 1:2 (NIV):

“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.”

   – This verse is often interpreted as a wish for overall prosperity, including material wealth, but its main focus is on spiritual well-being.

2. Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV):

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

   – This verse speaks of God’s plans for our welfare and future, but it is more about spiritual prosperity and overall well-being than material riches.

3. Proverbs 10:22 (NIV):

“The blessing of the Lord brings wealth, without painful toil for it.”

   – Although this verse mentions wealth as a blessing from the Lord, it does not suggest that material wealth is the primary goal of a faithful life.

It is important to note that the overall message of the Bible emphasizes spiritual wealth and relationship with God rather than material possessions. Here are a few verses that underscore this perspective:

1. Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV):

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

2. 1 Timothy 6:9-10 (NIV):

“Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

3. Matthew 19:24 (NIV):

“Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

These verses highlight the potential spiritual dangers of pursuing material wealth and encourage believers to focus on spiritual riches and their relationship with God.

However, does God want us to work hard and be rich?

The Bible stresses the importance of hard work, diligence, and the responsible management of resources. However, it does not explicitly state that God wants everyone to be materially wealthy. Rather, it encourages a balanced perspective on work and wealth. Here are some key points and verses that address this issue:

1. Hard Work and Diligence:

 – “Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense.” -Proverbs 12:11 (NIV)

 – “A sluggard’s appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.” -Proverbs 13:4 (NIV)

– “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” -Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV)

2. Stewardship and Responsibility:

– “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” -1 Timothy 5:8 (NIV)

– “The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.” -Proverbs 21:20 (NIV)

3. Wealth and Its Purpose:

– “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.” -Proverbs 3:9-10 (NIV)

– “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way, they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” -1 Timothy 6:17-19 (NIV)

4. Warnings Against Wealth:

– “Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.” -Proverbs 23:4-5 (NIV)

– “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” -Matthew 6:24 (NIV)

These verses underscore the importance of hard work, stewardship, and generosity. They also caution against making wealth the primary focus of one’s life. The Bible encourages believers to work diligently, manage their resources wisely, and use their wealth to honor God and help others. Material wealth, if gained, should be seen as a tool for good rather than an end in itself.

In conclusion

As Christians, it is crucial to remember that our ultimate goal is not the pursuit of wealth or material possessions, but rather to live a life devoted to God and His teachings. While financial success can be a part of our lives, it should never become our primary focus or lead us away from our faith.

We must prioritize our spiritual growth and service to God over worldly gains. The words of Matthew 6:24 remind us that we cannot serve both God and money. We must choose to follow Christ wholeheartedly, understanding that true fulfillment comes from a deep relationship with Him and living according to His principles.

Here are some key points to keep in mind:

– Focus on being like Jesus – in other words, being humble and showing humility to others.

– Study the Word and Serve the Lord: Follow biblical principles diligently.

– Avoid Preoccupation with Material Goods: Do not let the pursuit of wealth overshadow your commitment to God.

– Seek Practical Ways to Achieve Financial Goals: If you want to become a millionaire, do so through practical means while maintaining your faith.

– Remember Our True Reward: Always remember that our ultimate reward is in heaven, not on earth.

– Seek First His Kingdom: Recall Matthew 6:33 (NIV): “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

As we navigate our lives, let us ensure that our pursuit of material goods does not overshadow our commitment to God. Let us use our resources wisely, providing for our families, supporting the work of God, and helping those in need, all while maintaining our primary focus on serving Christ.

Reflect on the teachings of Jesus and the Bible verses highlighted in this article. They call us to a higher standard of devotion, one that prioritizes spiritual and eternal rewards over temporary and material wealth. May we always seek to align our lives with God’s will, finding true prosperity in our faith and service.

Let us take up our cross, follow Christ, and discover the profound joy and fulfillment that come from a life dedicated to Him. In doing so, we honor God and live out the true essence of our faith.

 

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-Charlene L. Kazay

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