What Does God Think About My Stuff?

Texas Stuff StoreI was recently involved in a group discussion about godly stewardship and the desire for things.

Is it wrong to want a motorcycle?

Is it wrong to dream about a new bedroom set?

Would it be considered sinful to update a perfectly adequate kitchen for aesthetic reasons?

How many watches are considered too many?

Let’s face it, these questions and others like them deal with our stuff, and many of us, even if we are “poor” are wealthy in comparison with so many others that are truly poor around the world.  But I think the questions about our stuff and the desire of wanting more (or different or better) are truly legit and even necessary when it comes to godly living.  After all, Jesus talks a lot about money, and giving up every thing to follow him is a common theme; therefore, it’s not uncommon for people to ask about boundaries and rules when it comes to faithful living and the acquisition of wealth and things.  We want to know if what takes up space in our drawers and houses and garages pleases God or not, and if there is a balance to be struck about the things we have in this life, we want to know how to find it and what fits.

I believe, whole heartedly, that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to our stuff except that of giving 10% of our income away–tithing.  After that, whatever we buy, save, spend, give, is between each person and God.  A motorcycle for one may be a blessing while to another it would be a curse.  A kitchen remodel may be appropriate in one home while in another it would be wasteful.  Dreaming about a new bedroom set could be sinful, idolatrous or it could be motivational; it all depends.

I am given no authority to judge how others spend their money, and how God blesses one is not the same way he blesses someone else.  It would be wrong of me to speak poorly against someone buying a Mercedes Benz when we all know a Ford Focus would do, but if that person is a car buff and has saved up for a long time, has met God’s approval in purchasing such a car, it’s not for me to say one way or another.  And even if it is a wrong car purchase, it’s between them and God and it’s not for me to decide–did God give me their checkbook? did He make me their financial overseer? is it my car and my life?  I think not!  Instead, if I find myself preoccupied with other peoples’ purchases, I need to ask why?  Do I have too much time on my hands?  Am I jealous?  Am I judgmental and critical?  Am I trying to escape my own life by busying myself in other people’s affairs?

If we want to know if something we’re thinking about buying doesn’t meet with God’s approval, we need to spend some time in God’s presence and ask the Holy Spirit to show us what we ought to do.  A helpful place to start is with the bank account–if I don’t have the money for it, then it’s not something I need.  But even if I do have the money for it, that doesn’t mean God wants me to have it, maybe he has a different purpose for that money in mind.  In the same way that it’s wrong for me to judge others for how they spend their money, it’s also wrong of me to take my cue from others as I navigate the waters of spending.  I should never look to others to validate myself, instead, I should always seek the Lord.  Sure, I can get advice when helping make a decision, that can be wise, and I can gain insight and grow in my abilities by learning from those who model godly stewardship, but the answer still belongs to God.

When I said, the other day in my discussion group, that the only way to really know if what we want is right or wrong is by the witness of the Holy Spirit, I saw two women briefly glance at each other with a look that said they didn’t like my answer.  (How do I know that that’s what they were saying across the table? Because I’ve been guilty of giving the same look on more than one occasion myself.   I KNOW what that look said.)  But I get it.  It’s not a popular answer.  Discernment takes time and is ever-growing and changing.  It’s not a quick, easy 5 step plan.  Discernment seems spiritual while going to Walmart and buying lawn ornaments seems anything but.  However, everything we do is spiritual, therefore we need discernment for all of life.  The more time we spend in God’s presence the greater opportunity of developing dicernment.  God not only reveals specific things to us, but he gently begins to change the entirety of our hearts.  And from that, our relationship to this entire world and our overall perspective of life shifts.  We begin to see the world and our place in it more like God does.

I can’t say what God thinks of your stuff.  I can’t even say that I know what God thinks about all of my stuff.  But I do know this, I know how God deals with me and continues to deal with me in this area of my life.  Ultimately, I have to remember that everything belongs to God, even the ability to produce wealth comes from Him (Deut. 8:17-18), and I am simply his steward.  And if I’m not going to him when it comes to the stuff in my life, I run the risk of being a neglectful, selfish, foolish servant.  That’s not cool with me.  What about you?  Do you have any idea what God thinks about your stuff?

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