Sunday, August 20, 2023

Learning to Think about Our Money In God’s Way

By Brian Mitchell
    “God lets men have their playthings like little children that they may learn to distinguish them from true and valuable possessions. If they are not learning that lesson, then He takes them away; that through the lack of them and misery thereof they may finally learn what is most valuable.” “The more things men seek, the more varied the things they imagine they need, the more they are subject to vanity—all the forms of which may be summed up with one word, that being disappointment. He who would not be overwhelmed with this disappointment must seek for that which is truly valuable and not merely temporal.”
    The point of these quotations is to demonstrate the folly of seeking after, with one’s whole heart, that which will not endure and in the end will not bring any lasting fulfillment. Possessions and wealth are not inherently evil, the inordinate all-consuming pursuit of them is. It is fine to have material possessions, the problem is when we are never satisfied with the possessions we have and so we continually want more and more and more. When we don’t find ultimate fulfillment in these possessions we wonder why.
    The problem is when our things possess us instead of us possessing our things and using them for God’s glory. “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Lk.12:15). Covetousness—the strong desire for that which others have, characterized by greed. The problem for many Americans is that they are never satisfied with what they have, they are as we shall discuss later, addicted to the pursuit of material possessions.
    Constantly we are bombarded with images from T.V., magazines, movies and books that encourage us to desire more. Often with the sense of entitlement that says in effect that “you deserve everything you want.” One of the greatest causes of the current economic crisis is the financial overextension of many American families who simply used credit to afford lifestyles that in essence they simply could not afford. Thus, when the credit dried up and the housing market crashed, people finally woke up to the reality that they were in dire financial straits.
    What was the root cause—materialistic greed and covetousness which is the closest biblical word to materialism. Sadly, the church has not gone unaffected by this dilemma and thus materialism in all its ugly forms is one of Satan’s greatest weapons against the people of God. We want and do not have and so instead of learning to be content with what we have, we simply want for more and do whatever we can to get it.
    One of the greatest ironies of covetousness and materialism, especially in relation to how dangerous it is, is the difficulty of detecting or admitting the sin in our own lives. That is why it is one of Satan’s most deceptive weapons. In an article written by Paul Keller, a Catholic priest was reported as saying that “in all of his years of hearing confession, he had heard people admit to every sin imaginable—except the sin of covetousness.”
    This is because when it comes to materialism and the covetous attitudes which lead to it, it is extremely hard for any of us to admit that our own materialistic desires have become either selfish or excessive. That is why it is time for us to be honest about this problem and if guilty of it we need to repent and start putting first things first again.

- Brian Mitchell serves as a minister with the Jackson Church of Christ in Jackson, MO. He may be contacted through the congregation's website at

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