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May
18

How Much is Enough? (part 2)

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Jesus devoted much of the Sermon on the Mount to a discussion about wealth and riches.
Matthew 6:19-33. In this lengthy text, Jesus advocated favoring heavenly treasures over earthly treasures. He gives three supporting reasons for his argument.
1. The world is an uncertain place (Matthew 6:19-20). Stuff will deteriorate, if it is not stolen by thieves first.
2. Whatever we fix as our treasure will obsess our entire life (Matthew 6:21). Your life will orbit your treasure.
3. Provision for our needs has already been made (Matthew 6:25-32). While we work and are encouraged to work, our work is performed in trust, not in anxious concern.

So how did we end up in so much trouble?

First, I believe we have become consumed by consumerism. Overconsumption results when we desire something beyond our reach. We reach because we feel incomplete. In order to complete the void in our lives we reach for “plastic saviors” that will help us create the image and identity that we want but is not real.

Second, we have failed to understand the biblical teaching of stewardship. The first step in understanding stewardship is to acknowledge God’s ownership of all things. We are not owners, we are managers of the gifts and blessings that God has entrusted to us to serve the world.

Third, we have failed to seek first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33). It has been said that purity of heart is to will one thing. But because we lack a divine center our need for security has led us to an insane attachment to things. If we do not seek the kingdom of God first we will not seek it at all. Seeking the kingdom first produces three core attitudes about wealth and riches: (1) What I have is a gift from God; (2) What I have is cared for by God; and (3) What I have is available to others.

No matter what our earthly treasures may be, we have to be careful about holding them too tightly because they will weigh us down and then let us down. Jesus challenge to us is to prefer eternal treasure that lasts forever.

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