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The Dangers of Materialism

by Jim Stauffer

The Hebrew writer teaches us in Hebrews 13:5 - "Be ye free from the love of money; content with such things as ye have: for himself hath said, I will in no wise fail thee, neither will I in any wise forsake thee." (ASV). Here we see that the Lord would have us to be content with the necessities of life while we live on the earth. Paul in his first letter to Timothy warns that - "...they that are minded to be rich fall into a temptation and a snare and many foolish and hurtful lusts, such as drown men in destruction and perdition" and that "... the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil..." (1 Timothy 6:9,10). The Scriptures further admonish us not to love this world (I John 2:15-17) and to be aware that Satan is on the prowl for our souls. (I Peter 5:8).

While materialism is not our only concern, it certainly is one of our greatest. We can very subtly be tempted to spend our greatest effort securing a lifestyle that is respected and admired by the world. Of course when we place this first and foremost we are falling into the trap Paul speaks of in his letter to Timothy. In so doing we are not heeding Paul's admonition to the Colossians to - "seek the things that are above." (Colossians 3:1,2, ASV). We are rather, falling in love with this world and looking for things on the earth.

Our Lord Jesus taught many lessons in this regard in both word and deed. He teaches us to lay up "treasures in heaven" rather than search for happiness in materialism. (Matthew 6:19- 21). When we read of Jesus' life on earth we are impressed with how accurately His life followed His instruction to others. He had no home, He had no bed. (Matthew 8:20). He devotes a sizable portion of the Sermon on the Mount explaining why we can live confidently regarding the material things of this life and yet not "lay up treasures on the earth" or "seek the things of the earth." The basis of this confidence is God's love for us. He describes us as the most important part of God's creation and reminds us that if God cares for the birds of the air and the flowers of the field, he will much more look after us. (Matthew 6:25-30). He closes this point with the admonition for us to - "seek first the Kingdom" and all our necessities will be provided for us by God.

The point being made in these passages is for us to look confidently toward God to care for us now and always, as he already has done by sending his Christ to the cross and securing our redemption and ultimate salvation. The encouragement is not to fear and not to selfishly serve ourselves but rather to submit to the Lord and follow Him.

Matthew 10:38,39 tells us we are not worthy of Christ if we cannot do this very thing. Let us truly and sincerely turn to the Lord for our needs and follow him as He has asked.

I will do more than belong - I will PARTICIPATE.
I will do more than care - I will HELP.
I will do more than believe - I will PRACTICE.
I will do more than be fair - I will be KIND.
I will do more than forgive - I will FORGET.
I will do more than dream - I will WORK.
I will do more than teach - I will INSPIRE.
I will do more than earn - I will ENRICH.
I will do more than give - I will SERVE.
I will do more than live - I will GROW.
I will do more than be friendly - I will be a FRIEND.
I will do more than be a citizen - I will be a PATRIOT.

"...upon this rock I will build My church..." Matt.16:18

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