The Point: Possessions don’t last. Your relationship with God does.
The Bible Meets Life: “You can’t take it with you.” But some people certainly have tried.
Take Billy Standley. When he died at age 82, he was buried on his 1967 Harley Davidson Electra Glide cruiser. He had worked for years fabricating his massive casket of cement, wood, and Plexiglas so everyone could see his last ride. As the funeral proceeded to the cemetery, onlookers could see Billy Standley on his bike surrounded by his trophies. He was determined to try and take it with him.
That may sound excessive, but we all may get carried away from time to time with our possessions. Perhaps you know someone who gets a little crazy about his car, couch, or carpet. Possessions aren’t necessarily bad, but …
Possessions can drive a wedge between God and us. If we aren’t careful, we won’t own our possessions—they will own us. That helps explain why Jesus spoke more about money than just about any other topic. Let’s look back at Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and let Christ transform our view of our possessions.
If you looked at my spending habits for the last month, you would get a clear picture of what is important to me. How we handle our money reveals who and what has control over our hearts and minds. Earthly things just don’t last. Moth, rust, thieves, or even our lack of contentment reveal the temporary nature of our earthly treasures. But some treasures do last.
Jesus said when we value eternal things, we send them ahead of us. We can live here and now, accumulating possessions that will eventually end up in a garage sale … or we can be involved in something that really matters for eternity. Let’s use our resources and possessions for kingdom purposes, and in so doing we can “collect for yourselves treasures in heaven.”
- We do not own anything; we are merely managing what God has blessed us with.
- We make a better investment—an eternal investment—when we use these possessions for God’s kingdom work.
One way we can invest in God’s kingdom and store up treasures in heaven is through giving to our local church. I believe in the tithe: giving 10 percent of my money and resources to God (Mal. 3:10). Some people say the tithe was a part of the Old Testament law, and doesn’t apply to us today. It’s true that we now live under grace, but grace always goes beyond the letter of the law. I don’t approach tithing as some legalistic practice, but it is my starting point for giving—for acknowledging that everything ultimately belongs to God.
Even though all we possess really belongs to God, we—the church as a whole—are not doing a good job of giving back to Him. Depending on what research you read, the average Christian gives between 2.5 and 4 percent. I believe many in the church are living in financial scarcity because of their decision to withhold from God (2 Cor. 9:6). But when we trust God with our finances and put Him first, we are transformed in our possessions.
Excerpted from Brady Cooper, Bible Studies for Life: Transformed © 2016 LifeWay Press®. Used by permission.