A Materialistic Christmas

materialistic christmasWe are in high gear with just a few weeks remaining until Christmas. Christmas has turned from a day of celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ into the devil’s holiday as materialism consumes our thoughts. God knew we would struggle with materialism as it is valuing the physical over the spiritual. Matthew 6:19-24 Jesus warned about the three deadly dangers of materialism.

First, materialism is deadly because it consumes a person. Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal” (verse 19). Earthly wealth does not provide ultimate satisfaction. It is undependable. It is not wrong to be wealthy. Working hard, providing for our families and saving for the future are godly virtues. Jesus is not teaching asceticism. Jesus is forbidding storing up things as if they had the ultimate importance.

Jesus warned, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (verse 21). Wherever we invest our treasure will ultimately determine the direction of our lives. Focusing on this life leads to being consumed with this life. We must invest in eternity.

Second, materialism is deadly because it blinds a person. Jesus said, “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness” (verses 22-23). Jesus is using a play upon words. The word translated bad can also mean envious or covetous. The word translated clear can also mean generous. Proverbs 28:22 says, “A man with an evil eye (envious, covetous) hastens after wealth.”

Jesus is basically saying, “As the physical eye allows physical light into the body so your mind allows spiritual truth into your life.  If your mind is clouded by materialism, spiritual truth will not penetrate your mind.” Materialism blinds a person. It blinds a person to the value of spiritual things. It blinds a person to the gospel. It blinds a person to what truly matters.

In Luke 12:16-21 Jesus told the story of a very materialistic person. This man tore down his barns and built larger ones to contain all his wealth.  The man said, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry (verse 19). That very night he died. Jesus pronounced the man foolish. Jesus said, “So is the man who stores up treasure to himself, and is not rich toward God” (verse 21). In Luke 9:25 Jesus asked, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and loses his soul?”

Third, materialism is deadly because it demands worship. Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth” (verse 24). Every person is a slave to something or someone. We are all ultimately slaves to God or slaves to sin.

Money can easily become an idol in our lives. Do you love wealth more than you love anything else- including God? Do you believe money and physical things will bring you the greatest happiness and joy?

If materialism does not satisfy, what does satisfy? It is only the Person of Jesus. Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Only Jesus died for our sins. This life is short. James, the half brother of Jesus, said, “You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). We must value the spiritual over the physical. We must value the eternal over the temporal. We must focus on the future and not just today. We must turn to Jesus today!

 

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