Our true treasures are not money and possessions. Our true treasures are the kingdom of God, His love and interaction in our lives, our salvation, God’s provision and care for us, and our coming rewards. Understanding this puts our finances and their use in the right perspective.
In Psalm 24, David exclaims, “The earth belongs to God! Everything in all the world is his!”1 God Himself claims ownership over creation: “All the earth is Mine,”2 “Everything under heaven is Mine,”3 “‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the Lord.”4 From this, we understand that all that we “own” is actually owned by our Creator, which includes not just our possessions, but ourselves as well. We are simply stewards or caretakers of what God has put in our charge.
While God may own everything, He also wants us to be happy and enjoy the things He has given us, as it says in 1 Timothy 6:17: “God … richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.”5 As custodians of God’s resources—specifically, the things in our possession, and generally, the resources of the earth—we can use them for ourselves and our loved ones, to live our lives, and to enjoy what He has placed in our care. Having the right relationship with possessions, money, and wealth is vitally important to our relationship with God.
Understanding the principles of ownership (that God owns everything), stewardship (that we are to use what God has given us in conjunction with His will and His Word), and the need for developing a proper relationship with possessions and finances helps us to adjust our attitude and behavior regarding those things that we have control over, both tangible and intangible.
One key to this relationship is simplicity. Simplicity can be understood as a means of being freed from some of the unnecessary attachments to the things of this life, a means to set our minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.6
Jesus told us that our heart is where our treasure is, therefore it’s wise to examine what we consider our true treasure to be. We should have a right relationship with our possessions and recognize the damage that can occur if that relationship gets out of balance. Simplicity can lessen our focus on ourselves and our things and help to keep us focused on our true treasure, our loving God who has given us the most valuable things we could ever possess—His love and salvation.
- Buy things for their usefulness rather than for their status. Avoid basing your buying decisions on what will impress others, and choose according to what you need.
- Simplify your life by developing the habit of getting rid of things that you no longer use or need. Try giving them away and be free from having to store them.
- Guard yourself from being overly influenced by advertising and social trends. The goal of marketing is often to convince you to upgrade to the latest, best, fastest, most powerful model. Use what you have until you truly need to replace it.
- Avoid impulse purchases; don’t buy what you don’t need.
- Enjoy things that you don’t own. Use a library, public transportation, a public beach, or a park.