You Can’t Take It with You

“He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this also is vanity. When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes? The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep. There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt. But those riches perish by evil travail: and he begetteth a son, and there is nothing in his hand. As he came forth of his mother’s womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand” (Ecclesiastes 5:10-15).

Many people believe that they would be happier in life if they just had more “stuff.” Even Christians can become consumed with materialism. One man was heard to say, “I don’t love money, I just love the things that money can buy.” Be careful! Sometimes the more stuff we own, the more the stuff owns us!

A survey of church members found that the number one sin they struggle with is materialism. As believers, we ought to detach ourselves from this temporal, materialistic mindset and set our hearts on eternal things — the things of God. The Bible reminds us, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2).

To avoid being caught in the web of materialism we must recognize a few truths.

First, we are to value what God values. We are told to love God with all our heart and to love others as ourselves. These are the first and second commandments that Jesus gave us in Matthew 22:37-40. People are more valuable than the stuff of this life. Some folks use people to get the stuff they love, when in reality we are to use stuff to demonstrate that we love people!

Second, we need to realize that there is great temptation to covet, become greedy, lie, cheat, or even steal to get more stuff. “For the love of money is the root of all evil…” (I Timothy 610a), Paul reminds us. The love of money, as well as the love of material things, has been the downfall of many people, Christians are certainly capable of falling into this snare.

Third, the Lord Jesus Christ described the treasure of earth as being moth and rust eaten in Matthew 6:19-21. Earthly things are non-eternal, which is a contrast to the blessings God gives us for our service to Him, which is of eternal value. Therefore, we are told not to lay up treasures upon earth, but we are to “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (v.20).

May I say that you won’t be happier with more “stuff.” In reality, as Solomon said (and he certainly ought to know), the more stuff you own the more difficulties you will have, because the stuff will start to own you!

I’ve conducted hundreds of funerals and attended many more, but I’ve never yet seen a trailer being pulled behind a hearse. You can’t take it with you, but you can send it on ahead! May I ask you, “How rich are you in the things that really matter? Are you storing up treasures in heaven?”