All things being equal, I’m glad to be a Christian, living in America. Many of us have been blessed with the material prosperity that is common to the average American. The day after Thanksgiving is known as “Black Friday by retailers.” The one day out of the year that turns their losses into profit.  It also marks the official start to another holiday shopping season. Many will venture out to the local malls, fighting the crowds to get the best deals as we work through our Christmas shopping lists. Yet, it is troubling to me that somehow our material prosperity is directly related to our relationship with Jesus. 

Does the abundant life really mean that Jesus came to help us focus on our ability to shop ‘til we drop? I don’t think so! Try telling that to the millions of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ around the world who will regard themselves blessed if they are able to eat a meal today.

Jesus did come to give us life to the full, but the abundant life He was referring to is spiritual in nature.   It’s a life where God infuses us with His Spirit, molds us into the image of Christ and overspills to others who observe and become influenced and blessed. (check out Matthew 5:16, 2 Corinthians 2:14-15; 9:12)

Yes, many of us are blessed in material ways. Yet, we shouldn’t confuse material blessing as a spiritual status symbol. For the Christ-follower, material blessings should always be seen as a means to an end — not the end in and of itself. Make no mistake, God expects us to use everything we have for His honor and His glory.  Jesus said, “Much is required from those to whom much is given…” (Luke 12:48)

This week, when venturing out to do Christmas shopping, take a moment to thank God for your material blessings. While you are at it, be sure to guard yourself against a materialistic attitude in which you focus on getting more for yourself, as opposed to using your material blessings to serve and bless others. Remember what Matthew 6:21 says, “Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will be also.”


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