“Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.” (Luke 12 v33)
Possessions are very much like riches. Money can buy possession, possession can be sold for money, but I would like to suggest they are not the same thing. Possessions have their own attraction that I think can make them even more insidious than money. Ultimately money is simply a method of exchanging possessions and when we consider our wealth we need to include possession in the calculation.
As an example, many people are happy to give money out of their income to various charities, but how many would actually sell their house in order to give the proceeds away? Some may leave their estate to charities in their will, but that is once they have finished with it. Very few people would think that it is prudent to sell your home and give it to the church while you were still young.
I am not suggesting for a moment that you should go and sell everything you own and give it to the poor (Unless you are sure that Jesus is asking you to do this very thing, in which case I would say do it immediately). What I want to point out however is that for many people it is far easier to get attached to possessions than it is to money. Cars, houses, entertainment systems, mobile phones – we can become attached to them all. It may well be worth thinking about what you own that you would never give away. What are the things you just couldn’t do without?
As with money, possession should be just tools that we use to further the kingdom of God. There is nothing wrong with having them, as long as we use them wisely. If we are not willing to use them appropriately, or even to give them up if asked to do so, then it should be clear to us that we value them more than we value our relationship with God, and that makes them nothing more than idols in our life.
If you are tempted to excuse yourself by saying that you need your house or you car or whatever else it is that you own, just bear in mind that we must not trust in the things of this world.. “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariot, and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the Lord.” (Isaiah 31 v1)
You may be diligent with your money. You might regularly give to the house of God and to the poor and disadvantaged, but how do you use your possessions? God requires us to use everything we have for his kingdom.. “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” (Matthew 13 v44)
This very day you should do a stocktake. Look around you at everything you have and ask how God can use what you have to serve his kingdom better. In this way you will be like the shrewd manager in Luke 16 v1-9, “I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.” (v9)