As humans we are naturally drawn to obtaining possessions. I can remember at a young age watching commercials for Transformers, G.I. Joes, and Hot Wheels and constantly asking my parents for those items. I would do whatever I could to convince them that I needed a particular toy and little did I know that I was beginning to mold my mind to seek after possessions. This train of thought only continued to grow, especially as I got older and was able to earn my own income. My desire for possessions went from toys, to brand name clothes, to wanting certain cars, game systems, and a nice house. In and of themselves these things are not bad, but when one’s life is centered on getting those things the never-ending pursuit of possessions will waste your time and life away.
Just think about it for a second, most people do not desire to earn more money to help other people; the desire for more income is usually centered on being able to buy nicer items, take better vacations, or to have the freedom to do whatever we want to do when we want to do it. We see commercials everyday that play to our lust and desire for the so-called “good life.” This often leads to an existence of seeking after possessions whether we realize it or not.
The Good Life: Modern Idolatry
In John 1:37 two disciples were following Jesus after hearing him speak and when Jesus saw them following him he posed the question, “What do you seek?” One morning while I was reading through the Gospel of John this question began to penetrate my heart and mind; I felt like Jesus was asking me at that very moment what do I seek after. Do I seek after Him or do I seek after things? I immediately felt conviction through God’s Word and knew that my honest answer was that I was seeking after possessions. I didn’t always buy the things that I was seeking after, but it was clear that my time, thoughts, and heart were becoming captured by stuff.
I am grateful for the Lord revealing that to me through His word because if He did not I would probably still be spending more time than I should on things that do not matter in light of eternity. As G.K. Chesterton once said, “It’s not that they can’t see the solution. They can’t see the problem.” I was so enamored by the things that I was seeking after that I could not see the problem; however, when I read that passage in the Gospel my problem was clearly revealed, I was seeking after things that could never fully satisfy me.
I could spend hours checking out sneaker blogs and looking up the latest news concerning sneaker releases but ironically there would be times when I would only spend a few minutes in prayer and in God’s Word. Clearly I had not taken heed to Jesus warning in Luke 12:15 “Then he said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.’” Sometimes I look back during that point of my life and think about how I could have furthered the gospel with the money that I spent. I think about how my time could have been used reading the Bible, developing a skill, serving my community, or doing anything that would help me continue to grow into the characteristics that define a man of God. It is so easy to get caught up into the hype of the newest thing that you are into and to pursue that with reckless abandon while ignoring the truly important things of life.
Seek First the Kingdom
One of the first scriptures that I remembered as a believer was Matthew 6:33. I memorized that Scripture because I was in college at that time and was beginning to worry about what would be my next step in life and how I would provide myself a place to live, food to eat, and clothes to wear upon graduation. I loved that Matthew 6:33 placed the emphasis on seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness first and as I did that God would meet my needs. Comparing that time to the point where I was focusing on gaining possessions helped me to realize that I must never forget that I am to love God with all my heart and mind along with seeking Him first in my life via my actions. I came to the realization that seeking after things will only leave me thirsting for more but that Jesus will never leave me thirsty, He will always satisfy to the full as He states in John 4:14.
I do believe that God has given us all things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17). However, those things are never to replace Him or to become the focal point of our lives. Please meditate on following quote taken from Sinclair B. Ferguson’s book, The Pundit’s Folly and you will get a clear picture of the role possessions should have in our lives. “Possessions cannot talk to you, love you, or guide you! Either their pleasing beauty will wear off or your eyes will grow dim to their luster before you are eventually blinded by death. What lasting security can they give to you then? You came from your mother’s womb with nothing; you will go to the earth’s womb with nothing. How can possessions give you security? You know you cannot take them with you” (23). Jesus is better than possessions!
Curtis T. Bennett is a man saved by grace who desires to live for the glory of the Lord by the Holy Spirit's power. He has served the Lord through music, children’s ministry, homeless outreaches, and young adult ministry. His desire is to continuously grow into the image of Christ and utilize his gifts to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. He loves music but his favorite genres are jazz, worship, and hip-hop. He currently resides in Washington state where he thoroughly enjoys life and daily laughter with his wife Jenette.