The Gospel of Stuff
In our Western culture, loosely identified as evangelical and inclusively "Christian", there is a sad parallel often drawn between possession and happiness. Even more dangerous is the resulting false doctrine triggered by the likes of James Fifield and modern-day prosperity gospel crusaders which describes a "blessed" life as one without challenge, illness, distraction or debt.
While God is certainly a Father who will provide for His children, we understand that those who follow Yeshua, the Christ, must deal with challenges (1 Peter 5:10). Jesus, Himself, proclaimed that the poor would always be among us (Matthew 26:11). It is for this reason that those who decide to follow the Messiah must "count the costs" (Luke 14:25-34). Undoubtedly, sacrifice is required. Temptation will come. Challenges will persist.
With that said, it would be equally false to declare that everyone walking in salvation must be broke, sick and depressed. That is also not the case nor the point of this discussion.
Instead, we must be reminded that each of our lives, as born-again believers, are assigned purpose. When we say "yes" to our Father, we are acknowledging His sovereignty and the fact that we have been bought with a price. We are purchased, for Kingdom use, with the precious blood of His Son. Our faith allows us to trust God in deciding how we will be used to bring glory to His name.
We all want to be successful. We all want to live fulfilling lives. With that, goals are a great thing. Working hard to fulfill a desire is an admirable path for anyone, so long as those goals don't impede one's ability to live a holy lifestyle... Or cause us to judge those who seem "less prosperous" than what we deem acceptable.
This is the million-dollar question... Can you be happy, even without stuff?
"Now true religion does bring great riches, but only to those who are content with what they have." 1 Timothy 6:6, CJB
"Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth." 1 Timothy 6:6, NLT
"No one can be slave to two masters; for he will either hate the first and love the second, or scorn the second and be loyal to the first. You can’t be a slave to both God and money." Matthew 6:24, CJB
Frankly, anyone can can obtain possessions, make money, or even forge relationships. Goals are great, but can you be happy with what you have TODAY? Somewhere along the way, many who call themselves "Christians" or believers have lost their joy in simply serving our Heavenly Father. Unless they see "stuff", they are not happy.
NEWS FLASH: Being thankful is not a weakness.
Our days on this earth are numbered. Each of them are a gift, even if they are not filled with the things we feel we need to have. Too often we view those who are content as though they lack ambition or faith.
"Not that I am saying this to call attention to any need of mine; since, as far as I am concerned, I have learned to be content regardless of circumstances." Philippians 4:11, CJB
We know for a fact that money can't buy happiness. Thousands of wealthy people commit suicide and battle with depression. Conversely, many of the poorest people in the world wear the biggest smiles and are overwhelmingly generous. So why do we continue to preach on such large scales that earthly treasures are a sign of God's grace and favor?
"Yeshua said to him, “If you are serious about reaching the goal, go and sell your possessions, give to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come, follow me!”" Matthew 19:21, CJB
"For where your wealth is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21, CJB
The Holy Spirit bears the fruit of JOY (Galations 5:22-23). Joy is not controlled by possession, social status, economics, or marital status.
We need to change the narrative. It's ALWAYS a pleasure to serve the Father. Being filled with the Holy Spirit is a privilege that should never be taken for granted. We will all suffer through something. That's not an indicator that our Father lacks love for us, rather a compliment to reflect He trusts us, equips us, and empowers us to overcome!
While you press toward your purpose, whether that includes stuff or not, be thankful (1 Thessalonians 5:18)!