This Sunday Mike spoke about wealth – the top American Idol. The sermon emphasized that money is not the problem, but instead the problem is wealth. The problem with wealth is that we often view our wealth as “ours” – we fail to realize that all that we have is a gift. Because we only have the blessings that we have as a gift, God has commanded us to be generous and share these blessings with others. Our focus should not be, “What can I get?”, but instead, “What can I give – what can I do to be more generous?”
I reflected on this sermon and the scripture. Matthew 6:18-21 says:
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
I am struck by the phrase, “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” The primary problem with each idol in our lives seems to start with a problem of perspective. I tend to have a perspective that is completely focused on what I do NOT have as opposed to focusing on what I do have.
For example, when it comes to beauty – I focus on the fact that I don’t have a perfect figure, I don’t have perfect teeth, I still have acne, etc. Instead, I should focus on what I do have – the ability to run and be healthy, a face and body that is free form scars and problems. When it comes to work, I tend to focus on what I do NOT have. I focus on the fact that I am unable to work from home or be a stay at home mom. Instead, I should be thanking God for blessing me with a job that allows me to work 4 days a week, for blessing me with an outstanding boss, for giving me a position where I can help others and impact the world around me. When it comes to family, I focus on what I do not have. I often long for another baby, or sometimes I wish that my kids were better behaved. Instead, I need to be thankful that I have an incredible husband and two healthy, beautiful children. Finally, when it comes to wealth, I focus on what I do not have. I wish for a larger SUV or van to transport our family, I would love to have a bigger house, a bigger yard, & a house on a farm. I would love to travel the world, etc. I could go on and on with a long list of material possessions that I would love to have. Instead, I should be thankful that I have a house, that I have a car, that I have food to eat. As we learned on Sunday, only 8% of the people in the world have a car – so we are incredibly wealthy by comparison. Over 1billion people live on less than a dollar a day, so how could I ever complain that our family does not have enough money?
The problem with this negative perception of the world is that it seeps into every aspect of your life. I often spend time wishing that I could sing or play an instrument in our praise band, when I should be focusing on the gifts that I have already been blessed with! The other problem with this negative focus is that it creates in us a thirst that will never be quenched. If you are always focusing on what you do not have, you will never be content and fulfilled because you will never have enough. However, if you can learn to focus instead on the many blessings that you do have, you will learn that you have more than enough, and you probably have plenty left over to share.
The challenge this week is to try to change your perspective. Once a day, try to focus on something positive in your life – a blessing from God. Take time to thank God for the blessing. By doing this, you will begin to change your perspective – you will begin to focus on what you do have instead of what you lack. This will also help you begin to acknowledge that all that you do have is truly a blessing – not something that you have earned, but something to praise God and thank him for, and perhaps it is even something to share.