Theme: A Christian Perspective, Continued
This week’s lessons remind us what the Christian’s attitude and response toward possessions need to be, as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Scripture: Mark 6:7-11
3. Stewardship. Central to any biblical understanding of possessions is the concept of stewardship, the principle that possessions are not ours to do with as we want but rather are that which has been entrusted to us by God to do with as He wants, to be used in His service. It is the principle behind Christ’s story of the landlord who went off on a trip and left his vineyard in the care of tenant farmers, or the story of the master who entrusted certain talents to his servants. It is what Paul was talking about when he wrote young Timothy:
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor
to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in
God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command
them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing
to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation
for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life
(1 Tim. 6:17-19).
Earthly treasure is perishable. Frequently it fails to last even in this life; it certainly will not go with us into eternity. So what are we to use it for? The answer is that we are to use possessions to do good so that those good deeds will themselves produce treasures for us—not on earth, but in heaven, “where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matt. 6:20).
People have a natural desire to lay up treasure in the sense of doing what will last. That is not bad. But that kind of treasure can only be had in heaven and even then only if we use our treasures possessed here properly. I put the matter as clearly as I know how. The money you spend on yourself (which is necessary up to a point) will not produce treasure in heaven. It will be gone with the spending, and its benefits will perish when you do. But money you spend on others (which should be a rising percentage of your income, as God prospers you)—that treasure will last forever. It will be translated into eternal treasures to be presented to you at the Lord’s coming.
Define the third principle of possessions?
What is earthly treasure to be used for? What do our possessions have to do with eternity?
Application: Do you know anyone who has a material need that you are able to help meet?
For Further Study: Listen to a free download of James Boice’s message from James 5, “Believe Me, Rich Is Better.” (Discount applied at checkout.)