Luke 12:15-21 (selected) Take heed, and beware of all covetousness; for a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." . . . the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."
What is life, why are we here, what is the purpose?
Collecting stuff in itself is not wrong, the problem with collecting anything is covetousness. Covetousness is the desire for that which is not yours (which controls your life) – it becomes the god you serve. And it does not need to be things, it can be anything. What do you want? More time, attention, love, affection, influence, power. . . want to be more popular, effective, attractive, efficient, virtuous, . . . often we lie to ourselves, we say, I need this – and the problem, the thing that leads us into covetousness is that looking at ourselves, we say that either God didn’t make us right, or that God hasn’t given us what we need, and that we cannot live with things the way they are.
Covetousness starts with being unhappy or dissatisfied, that is the reason why you start looking into the lives of others, because you believe you are missing something, and as you look into the neighbors yard, you see something that you believe will solve all your problems – and therefore you have to have it, so much that you’d do anything to get it.
The answer to the temptation of covetousness is being rich towards God. Being rich towards God begins with recognizing all the blessings that God pours into our lives daily and daily giving thanks. Being rich towards God begins with stewardship. Stewardship begins by recognizing that all we have is a gift from God, and that God has entrusted it into our care for a time. Stewardship begins with – its not ours, we didn’t earn it, we didn’t deserve it, but God has placed it into our lives and into our care for a time.
In talking about stewardship, we are talking about blessings, the things that come from God. We are not talking about suffering, sickness, evil or sin – they don’t come from God, and they are not God’s fault, all forms of wickedness come from sin, which is rebellion against God – even the devil was not created evil, but he rebelled against God – so also man was not created evil, he also rebelled against God. But God in mercy took pity on mankind and did not abandon them, but sent us our Lord and Savior to bring us life and salvation, God brought blessings back into our lives in Jesus Christ.
So if we begin our stewardship by recognizing the blessings in our lives as gifts from God, and as we notice that God pours these into our lives, we come to the second part of stewardship with is using these blessings to the glory of God.
There is a third part of stewardship, and that is returning a portion of the blessings that God pours into our lives to God through our tithes and offerings – we support the church so that the church can reach out into all the world with the good news of salvation.
Which brings us back to the question of being rich towards God – in our confirmation instruction we try to provide everyone with the basic tools, the hammer, screwdriver and pliers of life, plus the knowledge that there are other tools which are also helpful.