Do you consider an abundant life as having everything you want or as appreciating everything you have?
One of the major challenges that people face in dealing with money and possessions is understanding the role God plays in finances. Do we really believe that God owns everything? Do we acknowledge that in our mind and know it in our heart and live it in our actions?
In Deuteronomy 10:14 we read, “Look, the heavens, even the highest heavens, belong to the LORD, your God, as well as the earth and everything on it.”
Psalm 24:1 tells us “The earth is the LORD’s and all it holds, the world and those who dwell in it.”
The Bible even lists specific items the Lord owns. Psalm 50:10-12 declares, “For every animal of the forest is mine, beasts by the thousands on my mountains. I know every bird in the heights; whatever moves in the wild is mine. Were I hungry, I would not tell you, for mine is the world and all that fills it.”
The phrases “the earth and everything on it” and “The earth and all it holds” and “the world and all that fills it” don’t leave too much room for second guessing what God owns, does it?
God owns everything, and for us to actually live in a way that acknowledges God’s ownership can be an ongoing daily decision in our life. Once we acknowledge His ownership, every spending decision also becomes a spiritual decision.
When we believe that we are in control, we can become obsessed with money and possessions. We want more and bigger and better because that’s how the world tells us to live. But when we acknowledge that all the stuff we have really belongs to God, then we can put our money and possessions in the proper perspective. Money is simply stuff which we use to buy other stuff. It is not a measure of our success, importance, reputation or worth.
With God in control we can conquer the desire to be a “stuffaholic” and we can stop keeping score the way the world measures things. We can understand the difference between needs and wants and use our money to honor God in the way we give, save and spend.
We must live in a way that recognizes God’s ownership and Lordship. In the reading from Luke (14:33), we heard Jesus say that “None of you can be my disciple unless you give up everything that you have.”
Is Jesus saying that we have to give up our possessions? I don’t think so. The problem is that we tend to treat our things, our “stuff” with a level of importance that should be accorded only to God. We must renounce our “stuff” and stop focusing on the material things in our lives in order to focus on Jesus and the Kingdom of heaven.
Our Lord owns all things. He never transferred ownership to us. You may remember the verse from Genesis 1:28. After God created man and woman he blessed them and told them that they had dominion over the earth. One of the dictionary definitions of dominion is “power for a specific purpose within specified limits.” So there is a limit to our ownership and there is also a purpose for our ownership.
However, too many times we get so focused on money and possessions that we forget about the purpose and limits of our ownership. We spend our lives trying to find happiness. At every turn it seems that we could buy more happiness…if we just had a little more money, a bigger house, a newer car, a different job, a 60” flat screen TV, and on and on.
We forget that there is only one God and it isn’t spelled m-o-n-e-y!
In John 10:10 Jesus is quoted as saying, “…I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” Jesus promised us an abundant life.
Finding happiness and true financial freedom begins with understanding authentic abundance and realizing it is something different than the size of our house, the kind of car we drive or the number of zeroes in the amount of money we have saved.
In explaining “an abundant life” it might be easier to describe what it isn’t. Constantly striving for wealth and material success won’t provide us with an abundant life. In fact, constantly striving for wealth and material success will probably cause you to experience a less abundant life!
An abundant life isn’t based on your accumulation of material wealth, but rather it is based on your attitude and love for your fellow man and what you actually do with the money and possessions you already have, no matter how much or how little.
Jesus promised us an abundant life. He never promised us an abundance of stuff. If you are content and have a heart for freely giving and sharing—first to the Lord and then to your brothers and sisters, you will have an abundant life.
Too many times what we hear is that we are supposed to have abundance IN life. However, if we can’t share what we have with our brothers and sisters; if our heart is not content with what we have, then we are bound for a life of striving for abundance, but we will never have an abundant life.
So many of us are tied to our material wealth that it can get in the way of our spiritual life. Our money possesses us, as we use it to achieve an abundance of material possessions, instead of us using our faith to achieve a truly abundant life.