Living in our culture, we’d have to be blind and deaf not to be inundated with the lure to buy more stuff. Commercials, billboards, magazine ads and those who have fallen prey to them feed the lying whispers that beckon us. Buy this! Get that! Acquire more! Possess stuff!
The underlying message lures us in the promise that with the purchase of stuff the growing ache within will diminish. And with purchases the ache may wane…but not for long. Once the glitter fades, we’re back to square one: dealing with the ache for more.
The truth is that the more stuff we have, the more stuff we become enslaved to maintain. Then we come to lie on our death beds having lived our lives for things. How terribly sad.
My friend, Micky Land, shares with others how she lived her life for the American dream of success and satisfaction. Made herself beautiful. Married the rain maker. Got the big house, the fancy this and that. Had the kids. Participated in all the high brow social routines. Did all the right stuff. But after checking off each item on her list, completing the list wasn’t enough to fulfill her. Today she regrets all the lost years chasing emptiness and vanity. Today she enjoys a ministry sharing her wisdom gleaned in hopes of saving some from the same fate.
Years ago I read about a study which concluded that money and material possessions only helped increase happiness to the point where people’s basic needs were met with a little surplus. After that, there was no increase in happiness. In fact, there was a marked decrease in happiness. Where is the verse (I thought in Ecclesiastes) which says something like…those who desire money will only want for more of it and be miserable…? I can’t find it. But that study certainly illustrates that truth.
Raised in a lavish lifestyle with an abundance of material possessions, I feel at an advantage to some degree being able to see the reality of the deception of materialism. Been there, done that. Check. And sure enough, just as Christ promised in Luke 12:15 (below), during all those youthful years no life was derived for me from anything material beyond my needs.
With our achy souls wanting more out of life and the the barrage of superficial and materialistic messages bombarding us daily, easy it is to fall prey to the idea that possessions can fulfill us. But they do not inherently possess that capacity. Why not? Because they have no Life. And there is so much more to Life than dead stuff. Day by day this world is passing away and all the stuff with it. We enter the world with nothing and will exit with nothing. All our stuff left to those we leave behind.
Physical consumption falls short for spiritual beings who need spiritual remedy (Eccl. 3:11). What is here and now for the taking, now and forever, is the Lover of our Souls. Once united with Him, everything is gained. Period.
No wonder Christ warns us strictly to guard ourselves from wasting our lives in the darkness of materialism. He wants our achy souls filled with Him, the Life Source, thankful and secure in His provision and filled to overflowing with the light of Life!
And He said to them, Guard yourselves and keep free from all covetousness (the immoderate desire for wealth, the greedy longing to have more); for a man’s life does not consist in and is not derived from possessing overflowing abundance or that which is over and above his needs.
He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver, nor he who loves abundance with gain. This also is vanity (emptiness, falsity, and futility)!
…He also has planted eternity in men’s hearts and minds [a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy], yet so that men cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
As [the man] came forth from his mother’s womb, so he will go again, naked as he came; and he will take away nothing for all his labor which he can carry in his hand.
He who believes in Me [who cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me] as the Scripture has said, From his innermost being shall flow [continuously] springs and rivers of living water.
In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of men.
Once more Jesus addressed the crowd. He said, I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me will not be walking in the dark, but will have the Light which is Life.
2 Timothy 1:10
[It is that purpose and grace] which He now has made known and has fully disclosed and made real [to us] through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, Who annulled death and made it of no effect and brought life and immortality (immunity from eternal death) to light through the Gospel.
Jesus said to him, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me.
Turn away my eyes from beholding vanity (idols and idolatry); and restore me to vigorous life and health in Your ways.
I have seen all the works that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity, a striving after the wind and a feeding on wind.
All has been heard; the end of the matter is: Fear God [revere and worship Him, knowing that He is] and keep His commandments, for this is the whole of man [the full, original purpose of his creation, the object of God’s providence, the root of character, the foundation of all happiness, the adjustment to all inharmonious circumstances and conditions under the sun] and the whole [duty] for every man.
Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is for one to eat and drink, and to find enjoyment in all the labor in which he labors under the sun all the days which God gives him—for this is his [allotted] part. Also, every man to whom God has given riches and possessions, and the power to enjoy them and to accept his appointed lot and to rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God [to him]. For he shall not much remember [seriously] the days of his life, because God [Himself] answers and corresponds to the joy of his heart [the tranquillity of God is mirrored in him].