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For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer. 1 Timothy 4:4-5
Addiction is dangerous. Why? Because when we fail to limit our consumption, it leads to destruction. Too much food, too much wine, and even too much fitness can be dangerous. These things by themselves are not dangerous. However, they can be life-threatening when they become the center of our existence.
God gives us good things: food, work, sex, money, athletics, and the list goes on. We should be thankful for these things. They are good! In fact, we are wrong not to enjoy what God has given us. He wants us to enjoy his gifts. Remember, God is not against the material world – he created it! He wants us to enjoy scenic vacations, long runs, and festive dinners insomuch as these things are a celebration of his goodness to us.
There is nothing wrong with consuming God’s good gifts. However, there is something wrong with these things consuming us, when they move from temporary means of enjoyment to ultimate forms of fulfillment.
More wealth does not satisfy us. God wants us to receive with thanksgiving the wealth and possessions he gives and enjoy them. Wealth is not inherently evil (Prov 3:10). However, wealth by itself cannot bring joy. Only God gives joy; in fact, only God can enable us even to enjoy wealth according to Ecclesiastes 5:19, “When God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them…this is a gift of God.”
Paul tells Timothy to receive God’s gifts with gratitude. The danger is when we come to worship God’s gifts instead of God himself. The human heart has no restrictor plate. It always wants more, believing a little more will be enough. Instead of satisfying us, having more only leaves us craving more.
More wealth does not secure us. Stockpiling money won’t free you from financial concerns. It will make you worry about your stockpiles. As the preacher observes in Ecclesiastes 5:12, “The abundance of a rich man permits him no sleep.”
More material possessions come with more worry, not less.
Having more money in the stock market means you have to worry about the market’s performance.
Having more money in real estate means you have to worry about the value of property.
Having your own business means you have to worry about finding your next customer.
Money is the just consequence and by-product of work, but work is itself a gift from God, and perhaps the greater gift. We shouldn’t set our hearts on possessing more wealth but rather on applying ourselves with diligence and gratitude to whatever God calls us to do. If our diligence is rewarded with great material wealth, our joy consists not in the wealth, but of giving thanks to God and sharing it generously.
More wealth does not make us more human. Money is not the measure of who we are but simply a by-product of what we do. God calls us to a vocation and the measure of our success – and of us – is not how much wealth we earn from it, but how faithfully we do what God created us to do.
Our worth derives from God, not the gifts he gives us.
My worth is not found in my paycheck.
My worth is not found in the square footage of my house.
My worth is not found in my brand of clothing.
My worth is found in my relationship to God. He has crafted me and called me to a particular type of work through which I serve him and my neighbor.
The question we ask ourselves is “will I have enough tomorrow” when the question should be, “has God given me enough for joy today,” and the answer should be a confident “yes.” Jealousy and greed work in us so that we are always wanting but never able to enjoy God’s good gifts.
The good life is a life of appreciation and moderation. The good news is that you have been purchased and no longer need to make yourself a slave to anything, including the master of materialism. Material goods can be and should be enjoyed but we must always remember they cannot bring us eternal happiness.
Blessed Father, you are a God of abundance. You are not sparing in your generosity. Thanks for the gifts in my life that come in so many forms. Help me to see and celebrate them all. I’m especially grateful for the gift of work. Help me to use my skills to bless others and glorify you!