Perspectives on Stewardship

How Much is Enough? I

Posted by Kent Anderson on

How would you answer that question?

What’s your reaction when you hear the word contentment? Are you content or is envy a challenge for you? Are you satisfied and pleased with what you have? Or, do you typically find yourself wanting more?

Wanting more is an easy trap to fall into. Unfortunately, too often we find that instead of being thankful for and satisfied with what God has provided, the temptation is to want more - and the pursuit for more never ends - and if we’re honest, it never truly satisfies.

Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes, everything we pursue in this life is like a vapor. Though earthly riches bring us temporary pleasure, like a vapor, they soon evaporate leaving us dissatisfied and wanting more. Solomon goes on to say all is vanity (meaning worthless) and chasing after wind.

Psalm 78 gives us interesting instruction in this regard. In this passage Asaph points out how the nation of Israel was dissatisfied and ungrateful for God’s past provisions and blessings and wanted more. As a result they began to disobey His commands and even began to make demands of God.

My Bible commentary points out that their ingratitude progressed from:
1) Growing accustomed to God’s blessings,
2) To becoming expectant of God’s blessings,
3) And eventually coming to demand God’s blessings.

The commentary goes on to say that their ingratitude chipped away at their relationship with God, eventually destroying it.

Why would it destroy their relationship with God?

Jesus helps us understand this in Matthew 6, where He explains that we cannot serve both God and earthly riches. Jesus says we must choose which one we will serve.

And in I John 2 we are told not to love the world’s goods - that they squeeze out love for the Father. The world only offers cravings - cravings for physical pleasure and for pride in our achievements and possessions.

In his book How Much is Enough?, Jay Bennett explains that, if we’re not careful, earthly riches can become a barrier to intimacy with God. And he indicates this occurs when we are convinced that we are the owners of the wealth that we’ve accumulated.

But Scripture is clear - God is the owner (Psalm 24) - and we are to honor God with all of our possessions (Proverbs 3). We are simply the stewards of all that He has entrusted to us - our treasures, our time and our talents.

Bennett goes on to say that God does not partner with idols. Throughout the Old Testament we see God’s anger provoked against the Israelites as they turned their reliance and faith away from God and toward idols.

But you say “I don’t have any idols in my life.” Are you sure?

We often think of idols as carved statues that people pray to. You probably don’t have any of those around the house, but an idol can be anything that we come to rely upon rather than God - anything
that becomes more important to us than God.

Hosea 10 tells us that because of God’s blessings, Israel had become a “luxuriant vine filled with fruit, but the more wealth God gave her (Israel), the more she poured it on the altars of her heathen idols.”

God has given us abundant blessings as well, but are we content? Or do we pour those blessings on the altars of our idols - idols such as more wealth for ourselves, or more pleasure, or more possessions, or seeking positions of status?

Anything that comes before God can become an idol - when we rely upon what we believe it can provide rather than placing our trust in God and what He can provide.

Is there something in your life that has taken God’s place - something you rely upon and direct your attention and efforts and resources to rather than God?

Just as the Israelites became accustomed to God’s blessings, and came to expect His blessings and even came to demand His blessings, is it possible we do the same?

In so doing, just like the Israelites, do we see the potential to harm our relationship with God? Again, as Christ pointed out, we must choose which one we will serve - God or mammon.

What we treasure is an indication of where our heart is.

Which is it for you? Where is your treasure? Where is your heart?


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