This past week at our church one of the pastors gave a sermon on wealth, the corrupting power that it can have, and how to avoid becoming materialistic with your money and possesions. I thought I would share some of the things he talked about.
The sermon was based off of a verse in James.
Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you. James 5:1-6
Wealth, Corruption And Materialism
The verse above was a warning by James to rich people in ancient times who were corrupt, self indulgent and who took advantage of those around them in a variety of ways. They seem like they were pretty bad guys. But don't sit back and relax if you're not rich. I don't think the warnings found in this passage were meant only for the rich. They were meant for anyone who has the wrong attitude about money, and how to obtain it.
Having nothing doesn't make you more spiritual and having a lot doesn't mean one is materialistic. Your attitude about what you have is what is important. – Pastor Troy Dobbs
Too often many of us see the blessings of God in our life as the end goal. We want to live a easy life filled with all the wonderful things that God can provide.
God isn't here to serve us though. We're here to serve him, to glorify him and to point to way to the cross. Our end goal should be to further His kingdom, and bring others to Christ, not to see how many blessings we can pile up and use for our own benefit.
So the question is, when Christ and cash come in conflict who wins?
Warning Signs Of Materialism
Becoming materialistic doesn't happen overnight, and there are warning signs that you may be focusing on the wrong things. Here are a few that are mentioned in James 5.
- Sin of hoarding: Is your accumulation of money and possessions tied to a legitimate biblical need? Or do you just have a need to have more? Are you accumulating because you have a need to display your wealth?
- Sin of exploitation: Are you using people to get what you want? Are you cheating others or being dishonest? God takes dishonest business dealings very seriously. God notices the things going on in our current economy. God sees all and takes care of his own. Trust in him and he will take care of you if you've been taken advantage of.
- Sin of self indulgence: God can be an afterthought or source of your greatest joy. Are you trying to find happiness elsewhere, or through Christ? Don't think just because you have a lot of stuff that you'll avoid paying for your sins in the end.
- Sin of perverting justice: God hears the cries of the unjustly accused and condemned. God sees and the unjust will pay the price one day.
Want to avoid being materialistic? Avoid the sins listed above.
It's ok to provide for your family and to save for the future, but sometimes people only accumulate things for the wrong reasons. Be more giving, with what you've been given and be a good steward. Be conscientious in how you earn your money, and look towards Christ for fulfillment, not to things or activities.
Think about the end because it will help you live in the now.
Are you sure that you know him? (If not, please read this article)