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Monday, February 1, 2021

Material Goods

By Kevin V. Rutherford

    Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, made two points concerning wealth in His “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 6:19-34). The first point had to do with wealth. The second point had to do with those material goods that we need in order to live here on this earth. Both of these points can help a Christian to have a perspective that will bring peace and contentment to the heart.
    The first point talks about treasure (Matthew 6:19-24). We are to lay up treasures in heaven rather than treasures on earth. Two reasons are given as to why. First, treasures here are subject to theft and decay, while treasures in heaven are not. Second, your heart is with your treasure. If your treasure is earthly and material, then your heart will be focused on the earthly and material. If your treasure is in heaven, then your heart will be in heaven and your focus will be spiritual. If your mind is focused on heaven and the spiritual, you will be filled with light. If your mind and heart are focused on material treasure your soul will be darkened. God and wealth cannot both be your first priority in life. It is one or the other.
    Jesus then shifts the focus of the lesson from material goods above and beyond what are needed, to those material goods that are needed (Matthew 6:25-34). Jesus does not want us to be focused on material wealth, but neither does He want us to worry about material necessities. Material necessities include food, water, and clothing. We are of much greater value than birds and flowers. Therefore, because God feeds the birds and clothes the flowers we should be confident He will do so for us. God knows what we need, and will take care of us. However, there is a condition. God will provide all that we need when we are seeking His kingdom and righteousness first. If you and I will put God first in our lives, trust in Him to provide for our needs, and stay focused on spiritual treasures, we will be happy, content, hopeful, and confident.
    Along the same lines, Paul warned Timothy of the dangers of focusing on material goods (1 Timothy 6). Paul spoke of false teachers who have drawn people away from the truth for the sake of personal gain (1 Timothy 6:1-6). Paul tells Timothy to withdraw himself from such individuals. Paul then gives Timothy to withdraw himself from such individuals. Paul then gives Timothy the right perspective. That is, true gain is not to be found in material wealth, but rather it is found in godliness accompanied by contentment. Those who lust for material good will never be content. The person who is truly happy is not the one who is continually wanting more and more material goods.
    We should not be obsessed with wealth because we cannot take it with us (1 Timothy 6:6-8). We will leave everything behind when we die. The only thing that goes is the soul. You leave, and you leave everything, and it won’t be long before it is all over. With that perspective, we must realize that our time and efforts should be spent primarily on those pursuits which prepare the soul for leaving the earth.
    If we cannot learn to be content with what we need, and we develop a desire to be rich, we will endanger our souls (1 Timothy 6:8-10). A lust for wealth causes one to fall into traps that drown people in destruction. This lust for money produces all kinds of evil, and some Christians have lost their faith because of it. Some Christians have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows. There is the sorrow of failing to teach children about God because of a focus on the gaining of material wealth. There is the sorrow of discovering the hollow nature of wealth, after relationships have been hurt. There is the sorrow of failing as a steward over one’s time. There is the sorrow that comes from falling victim to all of the evil that can be caused by a lust for wealth.
    Run from the love of money. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness instead (1 Timothy 6:11). Lust for wealth leads to failure and fruitlessness. Fighting the good fight of faith that leads to eternal life (1 Timothy 6:12).
- Kevin V. Rutherford preaches for the Warners Chapel church of Christ in Clemmons, NC. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://warnerschapelchurchofchrist.org/


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