Living in a Material World
June 13, 2020
Can you hear the little boy crying? He is hungry. He’s had nothing to eat all day and is now going to bed with a growling stomach. Do you see the father sitting with his head in his hands because he hasn’t been able to find a new job? Watch as the mother stands on the street and begs for help.
From the time Angel learned about God, he would divide any money he received into three parts: (1) for God, (2) for helping others in need, and (3) for himself. You see, when Angel was younger he knew what it was like to not have a family that could provide for him. He knew what it was like to have to go to bed hungry and hear his stomach growl all night. He knew what it was like to have clothes that didn’t fit. The toys he played with were just sticks that he imagined were people and rocks that he pretended were cars.
Things are better now for Angel and his family. Angel is no longer hungry. He has food to eat—three times a day! His clothes fit him, and he has real toys to play with. Angel remembers the people that came and helped his family. A man came to visit and brought food for them to eat and gave them money so they could pay their bills. A lady had come and talked to his mom about going back to school to learn skills so she would qualify for a good job. And another man had offered and given his dad a job.
Not long ago Angel heard the pastor read Matthew 25:31-46. In this text the righteous ask, “Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You a drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?” And Angel has never forgotten what Jesus replied: “I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”
Angel loves God and has given his life to Him. He trusts God to lead and direct him. He has dedicated everything—His friendships, his plans, his possessions—to God so they can be used to help others. He never hesitates to give what he owns to someone else—clothes, food, toys, money. Angel says, “Everything belongs to God anyway, so if He impresses me to give something I have to someone else, then that person must need it more than I do.”
Angel is being a good steward. He is faithful in the things God has given him, and God will trust Angel with more as he grows up. The Bible says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth . . . , but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:19, 20, ESV). And that is where Angel wants his treasures—in heaven! How about you? Where are you putting your treasures?—Kathleen Sowards.
Memory Text: “Then He said to His disciples, ‘Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing’ ” (Luke 12:22, 23, NKJV).
Our Beliefs, no. 21, Stewardship: “We are God’s stewards, entrusted by Him with time and opportunities, abilities and possessions, and the blessings of the earth and its resources. We are responsible to Him for their proper use.”
Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 88-90,
Read Matthew 16:26.
At church your best friend comes in waving a ticket to a concert by your favorite band. You manage to swallow your envy, “thou shalt not covet” and all that. Then you realize you have enough savings. Barely. You could go. The guest speakers that day at church are missionaries. They live with no running water and not enough food. Families in their village live in shacks made of boxes. They’ll pass a basket soon for donations. But you need your money for the concert ticket.
If you decide to use the money for the concert, do you think you’ll be able to enjoy yourself? What do you think your responsibility is toward missions?
Read 1 Chronicles 29:14: Malachi 3:8-10.
Everything we have belongs to God, who is the giver of all our blessings. In return we should offer to God ourselves and everything we have received from Him (our time, talents, and money). When we allow Him to use us as instruments to bless others and to spread the news of His soon return, we ourselves will be greatly blessed and will become more like Jesus.
How much that you now possess are you willing to give up to serve God and others?
How can you be sure you are using your blessings to help others?
In the box below, find the letters that finish each word in the verse.
“So let ch one gi as he purp in hisrt, notgingly or of neces; f Gves aerful gi” (2inthians 9:7, NKJV).
Ask God to help you become a cheerful steward. Sign the pledge card below telling God that you want Him to use you and all you have for His kingdom.
“Dear Lord, Everything I have is from You. I give it all back to You to be used as You want. Help me to always remember that everything I have are to be used for Your glory. I dedicate my life and belongs to You.” Signed: Dated:
Read 1 Timothy 6:6-10.
You may think this subject doesn’t have much to do with you. After all, as an early teenager you probably don’t have a lot of money to call your own. Maybe your parents insist that most of your money go straight into a bank account so you’ll have money for college or you have a baby-sitting or lawn-mowing job, but your paycheck is “chicken feed.” You probably figure that you can’t be corrupted by materialism if all you’ve got is the change jingling in your pocket.
But, here’s the thing. God isn’t waiting for you to get rich before you get concerned about His people who are living in poverty. He wants you to care about them right now, no matter where you are, with a dollar in your pocket or a couple hundred stuffed into your piggy bank.
You’ve probably heard the saying “Money talks.” It means you have a strong voice as someone who buys things. When your buying dollars are put together with others’, you send a message to the people who are selling things. And how you spend your money can speak for you. It can tell businesses that you care how they treat workers in developing countries and that you aren’t willing to pay big bucks just to have the name of someone famous on your sneakers. You can run as fast and jump as high without them.
The time to start thinking about the money you will have to manage for God, and how God wants you to use it, is as soon as you have any—any at all. If you let God show you how He wants you to use the money He gives you now and get used to listening to His still small voice, it will be much easier to hear Him when He gives you more money later on.
Are you trustworthy?
Write Luke 16:11 on the lines below:
1. How do you handle your possessions? Are you careless? negligent? responsible? Explain.
2. How do you show by the way you handle your worldly possessions how you’ll take care of the true riches—such as your character, your relationships, and your obedience to God’s Word?
3. How would your parents or friends answer the question: “Would you trust [your name] with your most valuable possession?”
4. What would you tell God in prayer about how you want to take care of the true riches He has given you?
Read Matthew 25:31-46.
Review the memory text.
Money can seem to disappear very quickly. A couple bucks for some snacks and toys, and it’s gone. But as Christians we need to think about what else our money could buy. In another country, the money spent on that little after-school snack could easily have provided a simple meal for a whole family.
When Jesus was here He asked us to love our neighbors because He knew we would come closest to understanding Him when He was working through us. He said it was great when we even gave someone a cup of water or our extra clothes. When we help others it’s as if we’re helping Him.
Try this. Next time you get some money, hold it in your hand and dedicate it to God. All of it. Not just 10 percent and some change for the mission offering. Tell God that you want Him to tell you what to do with all of it. And just stand back and see what happens. All true blessings come from God—even money. He knows exactly what you should do with it and He has ways to multiply it that we don’t know anything about. Check it out.
Read Luke 16:11, 12.
All talk and no action isn’t going to get things done. So here’s the deal. This week, get out and see how the other half lives. Find a soup kitchen or rescue mission in your neighborhood, town, city, or somewhere close by. Or you can go to a nursing home. Write down the names of the places and contact persons along with the phone number. Ask an adult to help you contact them until you find one where you can volunteer to help out for a few hours this week. After you go, take some time to record your experience. In what ways was your experience an eye-opener? Consider volunteering on a regular basis.
How it went: