By Harry Verhiley
We live in one of the most affluent cultures throughout all of history. No other society has lived as well as we do with all of our modern comforts and conveniences. Even with all that we have, it still seems we still do not have enough. We are inundated, through advertisements, with messages that tell us of all the things that we are missing out on — whether we need them or not.
We are exposed to advertisements many times through our day, even without being aware of it; sometimes they influence us to purchase things that we do not really need. As a result of this treadmill of buy, work, spend, we know the cost of things, not necessarily the value.
We are more concerned about making a living than making a life — which directly reflects God’s purpose for our existence. In a lifetime, we throw away far more than we keep.
Many people are trying to keep up with the Joneses, without even knowing why they want to “keep up.” However, we can never really keep up with the Joneses. As soon as we think we have caught them, Mr. Jones gets a pay raise, or takes out another loan, and buys something else and once again, our collection of stuff is less than theirs.
A stewardship way of life is counter to that cultural way of life. A stewardship way of life is a set of values, a spirit that affects our entire life, not based on what we have, or do not have, rather, based on gratitude to God for what we have, and awareness that God expects something of us. A good steward knows that life is beyond living with this constant urge of desire whenever we see what we don’t have. We must be careful about what we desire. St. Paul writes, “For the love of money is a source of all kinds of evil. Some have been so eager to have it that they have wandered away from the faith and have broken their hearts with many sorrows.” (1Tim. 6:9)
It is not that getting rich is necessarily wrong, in fact it is a beautiful thing to see God’s blessings upon a person who is a good steward with God’s gifts and supports Jesus’ mission. Scriptures are filled with reminders that we are responsible to care for those in need.
Instead of focusing on being rich in the eyes of the world, we focus on being rich in the eyes of God. When we are faithful stewards, grateful for all that we have, Christ-centered in our thoughts and attitudes, our actions are then motivated by a pure heart to please Him.
Yet, there are consequences to living outside of God’s will. James 5:5 states, “Your life here on earth has been full of luxury and pleasure. You have made yourselves fat for the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered innocent people, and they do not resist you.” Sound familiar? Unfortunately, in our society, some call “bad,” “good,” and “good,” “bad.”
This is contradictory to God’s intent for us, expressed through Jesus’ teachings. Jesus said many times that He came to do God’s will, that He must be about the Father’s work. Should we also base our lives on pleasing the Father? Jesus said He is the Truth. Truth is not a philosophy that is simply mixed in with other philosophies and then we choose what we would like the truth to be, according to how it affects me. The truth is a person — second person of the Trinity. That person gave us clear direction on how we should live, through His examples and teachings.
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