It’s difficult to be a thankful person today. In a culture where updates, upgrades, and overnight deliveries are commonplace, gratitude has a short shelf life. People have always compared their belongings with their neighbors’. However, I believe social media has greatly exasperated the temptation to compare your stuff with theirs. Most of us know that the life our friends and followers project on social media isn’t the real deal, yet we fall victim to comparison almost every time we open the app.
Whenever I’ve done ministry in a developing country, the people there have a sense of joy and connection to one another that is always greater than the group of Americans visiting. Their abundance comes from their relationships, not their stuff. If we can decrease our consumeristic tendencies then we can increase focus on what truly matters.
The problem isn’t the stuff in our lives. The problem is our reliance on anything that isn’t Jesus.
In the sermon on the mount, Jesus spoke about an upside down way of living. His words challenged everything about cultural instincts. He taught us how to handle oppression, how to get through adversity, and how to own your stuff instead of your stuff owning you. Everything Jesus wants us to know about the struggle against materialism can be found in one line of Jesus' most famous sermon.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21 ESV
It’s in your DNA to treasure something. If you treasure what the world calls valuable, you’ll always be left wanting. Materialism is a revolving door designed to give you a taste of fun, yet void of fulfillment.
Whether you’ve got a little or a lot, your sense of abundance shouldn’t be connected to your stuff. Your possessions can be so easily taken away. In order to be fulfilled, your definition of thriving will need to transcend what you own. God has a heart posture for his people to take on that guarantees satisfaction in life.
When we learn to value and pursue what God defines as treasure, we never have to worry about being disappointed.