Truth is Truth wherever it’s found, I believe.
Jesus said a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. And He said it is more blessed to give than to receive.
Self proclaimed minimalist, traveler, thinker, and humanist Colin Wright has come to a similar conclusion even though as near as I can tell he doesn’t follow Jesus in the least (far from it!) He writes:
"…minimalism shows us that … we are happy without unnecessary excess, without cars and boats and mansions and clothes and all the things of this world. Not that the things of this world are wrong or evil, it’s just that they are not the point of our lives. The point of our lives is much more complex.
The real meaning of our lives is to contribute to other people in meaningful ways, to contribute beyond ourselves." (quote)
Everything Jesus spoke was true, I believe. So to me it’s not surprising when I hear elements of His truth espoused elsewhere. I say “elements” because I don’t think the primary meaning of our lives is to contribute to others in meaningful ways (maybe that’s secondary). Our primary meaning is being in right relationship with God, I believe.
Having said that, I DO think someone looking at a follower of Jesus from the outside should observe – as a primary characteristic – him or her contributing to others in meaningful ways. Like Jesus said, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another. All men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
Issues surrounding money are enormous. Their ramifications tenuously affect every corner of our souls and lives. For instance, the #1 reason given as cause for divorces is financial conflict, I’ve heard.
The question arises, "How much do we really need – how much is enough?" The joking answer is, "Just a little more." Why is it we always crave more? Satan tried exploiting this known weakness when tempting Jesus:
"Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” (Matthew 4:8-10)
Some of this thinking has been spurred by a real situation in my own life. Here’s a hypothetical question, “If you had an opportunity to immediately double your income but it was through moving into a ‘gray’ area, would you be tempted?” My comment is: gold fever comes easier than you might think in situations like this.
Jesus said the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. In my experience, the difference between wanting enough money and loving money is a fine line.
But like Colin Wright said, the point of our lives is not in owning things of this world. Or, to again quote Jesus, "A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."
Our version of wealth is defined in terms of how much we MAKE. But God’s version of wealth is defined in terms of how much we GIVE.