Four-car garages; $100,000 cars; extra, double, fudge-covered chocolate ice-cream…Why are we so obsessed with bigger, better, and more?
It hasn’t always been this way…at least not at the level we see today. There have always been people who yearn for more material objects than they have and are never satisfied in the present. But, it seems that there is a larger majority of people today that have this outlook where a few years ago those living a profligate lifestyle were in the minority. Personally, I see this as a direct reaction to the ease of access we now have to social media both because those living extravagant lifestyles are easier to observe and those seeking that lifestyle have a greater ability to observe them.
So what? What’s the point of this and why is it better for your soul and less stressful on our physical bodies to ignore the over-indulgent lifestyles and practice minimalism? King Solomon, arguably the wisest man who lived, tells us in Proverbs, “Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice.”(16:8) Now I know that many of you are thinking, “Just because I’m rich doesn’t mean I did it in an illegal way or gained my wealth through injustice.” That’s not what I am implying or what King Solomon was saying. The “injustice” here is defined as what is done with the wealth once it is acquired. If we work hard and are rewarded for it then by all means, enjoy your reward. However, when we go from ‘enjoyment’ to ‘overindulgence’ we are not being good stewards with what has been given to us by God. Overindulging people have forgotten that we only have what God has allowed us to have. We are simply overseeing the gifts and physical goods that he is allowing us to maintain until he comes again.
In addition to the fact that we do not actually own the material objects that we want to possess we are given assurance by Jesus that God gives us everything we need. In Matthew He tells us, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (6:25-27) You see, God loves us and wants all of mankind to join him in perfect unity with each other and Himself. In order to receive these blessings we need to only listen to his Word, believe in his Son, Jesus, and what He did for us, and accept Jesus as our Lord. In doing these things God grants us immeasurable grace and countless blessings to enable us to live fruitful lives on Earth.
Finally, the blessings that we are granted along with the things which God has granted to us to steward are not meant to be hoarded and enjoyed in a selfish manner. We were meant to enjoy these things as a community and within the relationships that we build with each other. John, the disciple, tells us in Acts, “All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.” (2:44) As a community of fellow believers we are there for each other; we hold each other up in times of sorrow, but we also share joy with one another. With our excess we are meant to give to those in need and share with others when we have success. We are also meant to help the needy and less fortunate, whether they are fellow believers or not. Remember, Jesus did not come for the righteous and kind-hearted just as a doctor does not concern himself with the healthy. He came for those who need him and we are to do likewise by helping those who need us.