Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Discipleship #5: Materialism

We live in a material world.  We have physical bodies that require physical food, clothing, shelter and money. 

Material things are not evil.

To be concerned about material things is not sin. The sin is becoming a materialist.  A materialist is one whose god is material things.  He worries over materialistic concerns and he is consumed by them, whether he has them or covets them.  They are the first thing in his life and in his thinking.  He lives primarily for materialistic goals.  He is enslaved by the world’s values.  God’s Word warns against materialism. 

Proverbs 23:4-5 “Labor not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom. Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? Riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.”     

Proverbs 28:22 “He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye and considers not that poverty shall come upon him.” 

I Timothy 6:6-12 “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out. Having food and raiment let us therewith be content.  But they that insist on being rich fall into temptation and a snare and into many foolish and hurtful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.   For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience and  meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” 

To all of us Jesus warns  in Luke 12:15  “Take heed and beware of covetousness; for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things he possesseth.”  Jesus is telling us that life is not primarily about possessions and material things.  I dare say that most of the things and the activities we spend our time and money on are totally worthless and a hindrance to our walk with God. What a blessing it would be for us to be stripped of  ¾  of our money and possessions for a year or so to discover how little it really takes to live.  Then if God should restore our finances, perhaps we would have a new perspective towards life and be able to reallocate our assets to give much more of our time, energy and money to  the furtherance of the Gospel.

WILLIAM BORDEN 

Let me share with you the story of William Borden, a young man who was a millionaire and  heir to the Borden Dairy estate.  As a high school graduate, his parents sent him on a trip around the world.  It was while making this tour that he awoke to the desperate need of the world’s people for the Gospel of Christ.  He was inspired to devote his life and his wealth to evangelize the world.   He wrote home,  “I’m going to give my life to prepare for  the mission field,” and at the age of eighteen he wrote in the back of his Bible,  NO RESERVES.   

As a student at Yale, he sought to win other men for Christ and His service. After graduation he wrote two more words in his Bible,  NO RETREATS. He was ordained at the age of 25 on September 9,  1912. 

After finishing Princeton Seminary, in 1913 Borden sailed for China to begin his ministry.  On his way to China, in  Egypt he developed meningitis and died within the month at the age of 26.  Underneath the words,  NO RESERVES  and NO RETREATS  he had written the words, NO REGRETS in his Bible. 

The loss of a rich young ruler who had given up all for Christ galvanized many Christians into action. Biographies were written of him.  His example inspired a multitude of recruits for mission service.  Even his wealth effectively advanced his devoted purposes after he was gone, for in his will he left almost a million dollars to Christian causes. 

Listen to what the Bible says about true riches.  

Proverbs 13:7 “There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches. 

Proverbs 22:4  “By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life.” 

Colossians 1:27 tells us what true riches is all about. ” To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” 

When God is first in our lives, in the words of the song, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, “the things of this world grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” 

Contrary to the “prosperity gospel” so popular today, our desire for God and His will for our lives has absolutely nothing to do with any motivation to be materially wealthy. For the Christian, life should not be about getting rich. Rather it should be to know Christ and make Him known.  If God can trust us with material wealth, so be it.  We will use it wisely for His purposes. 

Our true riches is our personal knowledge and relationship with God. Ephesians 3:14-21 The Church of Smyrna, though poor, knew this wealth.  Revelation 2:8-9  God often calls and uses the poor who are rich in faith. James 2:5 

But God can also use a wealthy man, such as Abraham, who was rich in faith. Hebrews 11:8-10 

The happiest people in the world are those who, whether rich or poor, totally ignore materialism  and give themselves to the cause of Christ, as Paul.   II Corinthians 6:10. “As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.”. 

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September 10, 2006 - Posted by | Discipleship

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