September 8, 2013 – Materialism

He had it made! The produce of his land was so plentiful that he had to build larger barns to store all his grain and goods. In fact, his goods were so plentiful that he was planning to retire to live the good life.  He said. “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many year; relax, eat, drink, be merry. Who would not want to be in his position? He was rich. His business was booming. He was financially secure for years to come. He was living the proverbial “American dream.”

The rich man in Jesus’ parable (Luke-12: 13-21), however, is not someone to be admired. He is not set before us as a positive example. Rather, his lifestyle is one to be avoided at all costs.

The rich man made three lifestyle choices that caused him to be known as the rich fool. First, he was preoccupied with material possessions. “My crops,

“my barns,”· my grain,” and “my goods” were all he could think about. Second, he gave no thought to spiritual matters. He never said, “Soul, you ample goods laid up for many years; give thanks to God and be generous to others.” Third, he laid up treasure for himself and was not rich toward God. Sadly, this is the way that many have chosen to live their lives. Material objects, comforts, and considerations are pursued while God, spiritual values, and others are neglected.

Materialism is the preoccupation with material objects, comforts, and considerations. It is the disinterest in or rejection of spiritual values. Materialism is something that followers of Jesus Christ must be on guard against. He taught that man’s life consists of much more than possessions. Life, according to Jesus, is about loving God with all our heart, soul, and mind. It is about loving our neighbor. It is impossible to live that way when materialism is present in our hearts. Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters…. You cannot serve God and money” (Matt 6:24).

Jesus told his disciples what they should be focused on. He said, Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”  (Matt. 6:19-21).  Jesus wants his disciples to: seek first the kingdom of God and his rightness” (Matt. 6:33).

Scripture teaches us about the fleeting nature of life and material possessions (Prov. 23:4-5). The rich fool never had the opportunity to live out his plans. His life ended and his abundant possessions went to someone else. He wasted his life focused on something that he was never really able to grasp. He should have lived differently.

Materialism will prevent us from serving God and growing spiritually. It creates a divided heart and causes us to live foolishly. There is more to life than money, possessions and comfort. God’s kingdom and his righteousness are far more valuable. What are we preoccupied with? Jay  Taylor