Journal Entry // October 25, 2022
But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. (ESV)1 Chronicles 29:14
Why is it that I hold on so tightly to the material blessings and objects of this world? I have been conditioned over these many years through advertisements and cultural pressure to see the accumulation of things as not only the solution to all my problems but the general indicator of success in this world. The gathering of material things is the measuring rod that we are to use as we assign value and worth to people. Now, whether we outwardly acknowledge that as a culture any longer is debatable but the valuation is still there and probably even deeper than it has been in the past. It is so prevalent that it has crept into the church and has become almost like a silent doctrine of sorts. We are losing our understanding that all things come from the Lord. Not just the material items we gather and display for others to see but the relationships, the influence, and the meaning of our lives. The Lord is the One who gives us everything we have and don’t have in this world.
I lose sight of this myself. I get caught up in the trap of jealousy and envy as I look around at my friends and neighbors. I begin to compare what I have been given with what they have been given. I look upon their lives and see that they have those things (material items, influence, prestige, health, happiness) and my heart becomes envious. Then in my envy, I begin to question God. I begin to question his love for me. I begin to question my faith. I begin to question the goodness of God. In my jealousy and envy, I lose sight of the sin that is driving these thoughts. I get lost in my sin and let bitterness take hold of my heart.
What is the cure for this type of thinking? It is exactly what David prays back to the Lord in this verse. I must keep reminding myself of the truth. The truth that there is only one true owner and provider in this world and universe. I must remove from my understanding the misplaced thought that I actually own any of this. I must remember that I am simply a steward of the resources that God has allotted to me for the time. It is the Lord who brings this material wealth or lack thereof. It is the Lord who brings influence and prestige or the lack thereof. It is the Lord who gives everything I have and need.
How do I practice this and continually teach myself about being a steward of God’s resources? First, I must be generous with my time, talents, and treasure. God has freely given me all three of these things and I must not hoard them for myself. These three are meant to be spent generously for the glory of God. I am accountable to the Lord for how I spend these precious resources. Second, I must continually remind myself that God is still the owner of my time, talent, and treasure. He will choose how best to use these resources. As I use them, I am only giving them back to the Lord. I am only giving to the Lord that which is already his.
It seems so simple, yet is so difficult to break through my stubborn heart and loosen the grip I have on these things. I hold them so tightly at times. I clench these things within my tightly closed fist. Somehow believing that if I hold onto them with extreme vigilance I am doing right. I need to realize and understand that the way of faith is to hold these with an open hand. Ready to give and give of the resources God has given me. To not hoard and hide them away for my own personal pleasure and gain but to give to those in need. To share and spend my time, talents, and treasure for the building up of God’s kingdom through the lives of people. To engage with people. To share the love of Christ and all that he has done for me with everyone. Then… I will begin to understand and explore the depths of God’s grace and mercy in my life. Then… the Lord will be gracious to me and humble my proud heart.