Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. Luke 12:15
Alcorn identifies a few roadblocks to giving: “unbelief, insecurity, pride, idolatry, desire for power and control (pg. 44).” The reality is that in our fallen state, we obtain money (no matter how great or little) and we love it. We either hold on to it (motivated by the hope of the good life it will secure in retirement) or we spend it (with little regard for the purpose of our purchases). We don’t consider how we invest the money that God has entrusted to us; therefore we waste. Our distorted view of money stems from the lies of this world, or as Alcorn would say, “the illusion that earth is our home (pg. 44).”
Treasure Principle Key #3: Heaven, not earth, is my home.
“Where we choose to store up our treasures depends largely on where we think our home is (pg. 45).” If we view our time on earth as we should, a temporary location that we are passing through, then we gain prospective of spending what we need here and investing in our eternal home (where our investments will be returned to us with God-sized interest).
Remember, Jesus told his disciples, “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. (John 14:2-4 NIV).” Do we truly believe that? I believe that on this earth, Christians are preparing to live an eternal life in Heaven that is much greater thanks to the grace of our God. Our present life on earth is like a dot, but Heaven is that line that extends from that dot and goes on forever. (Read: James 4:13-5:5)
Treasure Principle Key #4: I should live not for the dot but for the line.
“The shortsighted person lives for the dot. The person with perspective lives for the line (pg. 48).” When John D. Rockfeller was asked the question, “How much money is enough?” He replied, “Just a little bit more.” Most Christians wouldn’t dare allow those words to part our lips, but the reality of our covetous hearts is that we always desire just a little bit more (Ecclesiastes 5:10).
We forget the sad truth that U-hauls of our stuff will not accompany us to the grave (Ecclesiastes 5:15). “We’ll each part with our money. The only question is when (pg. 49).” Why not be considerate of that choice and consciously part with it? I do not want to be a slave to possessions, and this truth is more real in my life now than you will ever know. I seriously might write a book about that.
Treasure Principle Key #5: Giving is the only antidote to materialism.
The Treasure Principle keys challenge us to rethink our priorities. I spent the night at a friend’s house the other week while attending school. On that evening I lay in bed tired, though not yet sleepy and flipped through the television channels. I stopped on HGTV where realtors were selling multi-million dollar homes in New York. I watched the first 30-minute episode thinking, “Oh that’s nice, oh that’s nice, oh that’s really nice.” By the second episode, my mind was thinking, “It sure would be nice to have that balcony with that view.” I caught myself, clicked the TV off and went to sleep. Isn’t that how subtle we are deceived into desiring what we don’t need and buying what we can’t afford.
Changing your mind concerning money means actively seeking the truth found in God’s word, and then proactively choosing to make different decisions and change our lifestyle. I no longer frequently visit stores without a purpose (primarily because I do not have the time, but also because I don’t want to be tempted to buy something simply because it’s cute.)
Additionally, it’s always burdened me that we waste so much in this country. Look at what’s left on people’s plates when they leave a restaurant. At the same time, I’m conscious about the food that is wasted in my own home. Sometimes I eat spaghetti for four days because I’m aware of the people all across the world at only wished they had the food I would contemplate throwing away. The heart of the problem is not shopping or eating. The problem is that humans are creatures of habit and we have trained ourselves to be slothful, irresponsible, and wasteful people. The Treasure Principle is calling us to a disciplined life of wasting less so that we have more available to give.
Scripture Reading: Matthew 6:19-21 and 24, 1 Timothy 6:17-19
In what tangible ways can we redefine our priorities concerning money? How can redefining our priorities make giving easier?
© Natasha L. Robinson 2011
You may also like:
TTP – Chapter 2 Compounding Joy
TTP – Chapter 3 Eyes on Eternity