Tough questions to ask ourselves:
- Would my accumulation of possessions cause a Christian sister to stumble in her faith?
- Would she leave my home and have to work through covetous thoughts, or, having seen all my belongings, leave with questions about my kingdom-focus?
- Do I hold my money loosely, or does it hold me? (Ecc. 5:10)
- Do I purchase possessions and comfort in ways that unmask my heart’s commitment to happiness apart from God?
- Does all the lovely stuff I own confuse my Christian friend (or non-Christian neighbor) as to what Christian living should really look like?
- Does the level of materialism I surround myself with cause a Christian sister to question the seriousness of Jesus’ warnings about earthly accumulation and affluence? (Mt. 19:23, Luke 12:15-21)
- What really drives my newest accumulation decision — the lure of the Pinterest-perfect lifestyle, or kingdom-centered living based on God’s Word? (Is. 55:2)
“To turn the tide of materialism in the Christian community, we desperately need bold models of kingdom-centered living … The Christian community should be filled with people who set a cap on their lifestyles, giving away everything above that amount. We need to draw a line and stop accumulating beyond it. Give away everything else. That isn’t even sacrificial giving. It’s just giving according to our ability. Simple as it is, the models are so few and far between that people don’t even conceive of how it could work.” (Randy Alcorn, Eternal Perspective Ministries, John Wesley’s Example of Giving, May 14, 2014)
Just because the based-on-God’s-Word models of Christian living (in the area of money and possessions and pleasure-spending) in the affluent Western world are few and far between, we who name the name of Christ aren’t given a pass. True, it’s confusing if surrounded by so few who put a cap on their lifestyle, but God’s way is not the way of the world.
“Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed our of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” (Luke 21:1-4)
“Take care and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions … ‘This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” (see Luke 12:15-21)
Oh Christian, do our lifestyle choices and money-spending practices exude kingdom-centered living, or materialism all shined up with Christian overlays? Ask the tough question with me:
Could my possessions be causing others to stumble?