Christian Living

Spiritual Life

What Matters Most

For a short period in our lives, due to the nature of my husband’s work, my husband and I moved frequently and lived in furnished apartments wherever we went. Our stay in these apartments lasted between six and 18 months. We learned quickly that having too many possessions was a burden. The apartments had all the basic amenities we needed. We only had to take care of our food and clothing. Whenever we considered purchasing something, we had to ask ourselves if this new possession would suit our nomadic lifestyle.

I am also an immigrant. When I moved to America, I had to leave things behind that I was not only attached to but were integral to my identity. I grieved the loss of my precious belongings but I realized later on that they were only things, things that I could, frankly, do without.

All the packing, unpacking, moving, and settling gave me a chance to revisit my perspective on possessions and priorities. Given that I am an immigrant on earth (1 Peter 2:11) and a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20), I asked myself what my attitude towards earthly wealth and materialism should be.

It is no mystery that our lives on earth are temporary. When we die, we move on to a better place. We move in with God, in His dwelling place in heaven, forever. The things we own on earth cannot be taken with us to our final destination (1 Timothy 6:7). So why do we bother?

We do bother. A lot of hard work, time, money, and energy goes into planning and acquiring stuff. A better car. A remodeled house. A new iPad. Our things matter to us. Our identity is wrapped around the things we own. They make us feel important and valuable. We hope that our wealth will help us through bad times, win us friends and status, and secure our future.

And, the more we have, the more we want. If we are not careful, greed can seep into the cracks and corners of our minds and hearts. It can transform our lifestyles and make us unrecognizable as Christians. We can become so caught up in filling up our earthly purses that we lose sight of our true identity and purpose on earth.

As God’s children, we are called to a higher and better standard. The Bible commands us not to worry at all about what we will eat, drink or wear (Matthew 6:25). Jesus said,

“The pagan world runs after all such things ...” Luke 12:30 (NIV).

Our Father knows what we need and is more than capable of providing for us (Luke 12:22-26). So, we put our trust and hope in Him, not in our earthly assets.

Jesus is not against money and wealth. But He urges us to honestly examine our hearts and see who or what we love and cherish most (Luke 12:34). If we love the things of the world, we will spend our lives, in vain, chasing after them. The love of money makes us unfruitful and unsatisfied Christians.

But if our hearts beat for Jesus, we will be driven to seek His kingdom. As citizens of God’s heavenly kingdom, we are called to make every effort toward storing up treasures in heaven, treasures that are indestructible and immortal (Matthew 6:33). We become rich in heavenly wealth when we do good, when we are generous and share with others, (1 Timothy 6:18-19) and when we love sacrificially, serve others, and make disciples.

My experience as an immigrant has taught me not to develop a strong attachment for things, not to let my possessions define me, and not to derive my sense of worth, significance, and security from them. I want to cultivate a heart that loves God above all else. He alone is worthy of my affection and devotion. The transience and fragility of worldly things remind me to depend on God to supply my needs according to His riches in glory.

I want to travel light, while I’m here on earth. I want to chase after things that matter to God, so that I know I will be rich when I get to heaven. Won't you join me?

Copyright © 2019 Mabel Ninan, used with permission.

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