Two simple statements that should mark the lives of every follower of Christ are “live simply” and “give generously”. In the Western world where we find ourselves the wealthiest people in history, it can be difficult to remember the way in which we have been called to live. One of my favorite passages in the Bible is Proverbs 30:7-9 which says “Give me neither poverty nor wealth; feed me with the food I need. Otherwise, I might have too much and deny You, saying, “Who is the Lord?” or I might have nothing and steal, profaning the name of my God.” What an amazing way to live – relying on God for daily provision, finding no pride or identity in our possessions, but rather simply trusting in God to provide.
I am not anti-wealth and see no issue with Christians who find themselves quite rich. However, as Jesus reminds us in Luke 12:48, the more we have been entrusted to manage, the more responsibility we will have to use those resources for the service of His Kingdom. If we have a lot of money, we should be using it to feed the hungry, care for the sick and homeless, and to look after orphans and widows (Matthew 25:31-46; James 1:27). Money is not to be hoarded or spent on the pleasures of this world. We mustn’t be like the young ruler who was so consumed by his possessions that He valued them more than obeying Christ (Luke 18:18-23). Jesus warned us in Matthew 6:24 that we cannot serve God and love money. We serve that which we love. Wealth is a tool to be used for God’s glory. Any time we make it anything other than that, we are out of step with the mission of Christ.
Many of us live extravagant lifestyles when compared to the vast majority of the world. Our houses get bigger and filled with more stuff with each passing generation. We have allowed ourselves to be convinced that we must have the latest electronic gadgetry, the biggest televisions, the fastest cars and the greenest lawns. How can we be followers of Jesus while engaging in such superficiality? Jesus comes with no pretense, so it seems only right that we should drop our own. It is better to live with only our basic needs than to be consumed by material goods. Jesus said if we follow Him, we may not even have a bed to sleep on at night (Luke 9:57-58). We should hold loosely to the things of this world, because nothing here will last. All that matters is what we do for Jesus.
We spend so much time worrying about keeping up with the Jones’s or perhaps just wondering how we will pay all the bills this month. Jesus told us not to worry about these things. He said to trust Him for your needs today, and let tomorrow worry about itself (Matthew 6:25-30). In other words, rely on Him to take care of your needs today, and repeat that process tomorrow. If He has entrusted you with wealth, don’t find your security there. Money is fleeting; it can be lost even more quickly that it was made. If you are in a season of being financially blessed, make certain you are using all you can to further the Kingdom message of Christ. Live humbly and simply before your Creator. Recognize that He loves you and will care for your needs. There is no substitute for Jesus, and we will never find peace in what we possess. Don’t buy into the selfishness and materialism of our society. We are called to be different (2 Corinthians 6:17). Live simply. Give generously.