Friday, July 29, 2011

More Is Better?

The television commercial portrayed a young family looking wistfully at a pleasure boat.  The problem was that they didn't have enough money to purchase the boat.  It was at this point that a particular bank was mentioned as the institution that would provide the needed money to the family through a generous loan.  The next scene depicted the happy family driving off in their car pulling the newly purchased pleasure boat.  Then the statement was made that "more is better" and for one to come and borrow the money from this bank in order to buy whatever one desired.  But, is more, better?  Not necessarily so.

It seems that in every age there are those who equate happiness with material possessions.  Yet Jesus warned against this idea when he said, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses" (Luke 12:15).  There are some who hear the gospel of Christ, but the "cares, riches, and pleasures of life" choke out the influence of the gospel before it has a chance to bear fruit (Luke 8:14).  The church in Laodicea placed too much emphasis on material wealth.  They thought they were rich and had need of nothing, but Jesus described their true condition as being " wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked" (Revelation 3:17).  These brethren were rich in the world's goods but poor toward God.

We all need to learn that material wealth can never bring satisfaction, even if we had enough money to purchase everything that our hearts desired.   Solomon illustrates this truth.  He had everything a person could hope for in the way of material gain; yet, when viewed from the perspective of eternity he wrote that material prosperity was vain and a mere grasping for the wind; that there was no profit under the sun (Ecclesiastes 2:8-11). Later, from the deep reservoir of his own experience, he wrote the following, "He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance, with increase.  This also is vanity" (Ecclesiastes 5:10).

The possession of material things does not insure peace of mind, contentment, and happiness. Such qualities of the heart come about because of one's right relationship with God.  Paul wrote that "godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content" (I Timothy 6:6-8). The wise man of Proverbs wrote in chapter 15:16, 17, "Better is a little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure with trouble. Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a fatted calf with hatred." Again in Proverbs 13:7, "There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; and one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches."  More is not always better.  A person can be rich as far as material possessions are concerned, yet poor toward God.  It is much better to be " rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom of God" than to have everything in the world.  Everyone can be happier in this life if this great lesson is learned at a young age. Individuals should seek salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ and "lay up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:18, 19).

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