Materialism; September 22, 2017

Job 1:21 “Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I shall depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.”

There are a number of theological problems with the basic premise of Job, but it still has a lot of good to teach us. As a literal narrative, at this point Job was probably still in shock, but his response is still very admirable. This one statement is in many ways the foundation of the whole book. As human beings we like to get, but we don’t like to give up. I wonder how many people in the recent spate of natural disasters, both hurricanes and earthquakes, have responded like this? In all probability, very few indeed. We like to think of God as a “sugar daddy,” equating physical things with affection, when He knows that our spiritual condition is far more important than our physical comfort. We are on this earth to give us the opportunity to be discrete beings with free will, and then to use that free will to come into alignment with our Creator so that we may live eternally in union with Him. All the material stuff is completely incidental to that. Because we currently inhabit physical bodies, that viewpoint is very hard for us to grasp, and the book of Job is an attempt to teach it to us. Rather than grasping truth about God, we tend to grasp for things, and we suffer for it. As Paul said, “Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” (1 Timothy 6:6-8) The world (and the devil through the world) does all it can to teach us the opposite, i. e. “He who dies with the most toys wins.” However, such a person is still dead, and without a right relationship with their Creator they have no hope.

Thankfully I was raised by parents who weren’t bitten by the materialism bug, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been affected by it. Even so, right now I think my priorities are pretty straight. That doesn’t mean I don’t get irritated and/or excited by material things, however! Even so, I think my priorities help me see the large sum of money we need for our current project as just a number, perhaps more so than some of the other people who are involved. I am not to look down on them for being fixated on the material, but rather encourage them and speak faith to them. After all, the God who spoke the universe into being isn’t troubled by money or the lack of it, regardless of the sum. That said, my faith must not be contingent on what God does or doesn’t provide, or when or how He provides. God is to be trusted and praised, period.

Father, thank You for pointing this out. I’ve actually been interested in my own reaction to the sums of money being discussed, because they are so much larger than what I usually deal with, and You have helped me see why. Thank You for the perspective You’ve given me. Help me share that perspective, that faith, with all the people in this church, so that together we may rejoice to be obedient to You in all that You have for us, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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2 Responses to Materialism; September 22, 2017

  1. Excellent thought from Job! I have never considered that from Job, but the Scriptures and thoughts therein can never be exhausted.

    • jgarrott says:

      Thanks for the comment, and compliment. I first read the Bible through almost 60 years ago and have lost count how many times I’ve read through it since, but I still get fresh insight every time I read it.

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