A message about possessing possessions is always encouraging, drawn from the Old Testament picture of Joshua and Israel entering and taking the land. It’s about conquest and victory! It’s about promise and the faithfulness of God! And so, believers are challenged to do likewise.
But in today’s context, what comes to mind when the phrase “Possess Your Possessions” is declared?
I can’t speak for everyone, but in Singapore at least, I can only guess that possessions are usually associated with money, wealth, houses, cars and other forms of material abundance. As such, to possess our possessions would mean to have more and more of these. Sounds good? Amen?
This is not surprising as the influence of the prosperity gospel is prevalent and rather well received in a nation that has experienced material progress and prosperity in our short 50-year history. According to this gospel, one’s financial position is an indication of his faith and the favour of God upon his life, or the lack of. Put another way, since a believer is already highly favoured in Christ, he is entitled to an abundance of possessions. It is his right after all, so he might as well take it. (By grace, of course, since he doesn’t deserve it at all.)
Whilst I have no problem having a few more dollars in my bank account, I want to be careful that I am not justifying my greed through spiritual or prophetic jargon. Consider this: If material prosperity is taken as the main (or only) measure of God’s blessings, when one seeks the blessings of God, is he not asking to be more prosperous materially? In other words, to be greedy for the blessings of God, in this context, is thus to be greedy for more possessions. In Christian circles, we often hear testimonies of how “God has blessed me!” and are encouraged to desire to have the same, by tithing and giving more because as we sow, so we shall also reap. Simply, we want to have what our neighbour has, and more! I believe the Bible has a word for such an attitude and appetite: Covetousness.
Luke 12:13-21 In the middle of a very serious and important teaching, this guy interrupts Jesus with a question, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” I suppose the share of inheritance was rightly his, and he merely wanted to possess his possessions. Jesus then turned this into an object lesson and said to the crowd, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of things he possesses.” Then, through the parable of the rich fool, Jesus cautions, “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” Like this man, if we are pre-occupied with possessions in the present, might we also be missing the weightier warnings of Jesus, that of greater and eternal significance?
Be careful with slogans and teachings that feed our fleshly desires and greeds, but do nothing to help us be truly rich toward God. In seemingly desiring the blessings of God, we could be justifying our covetousness without even realising it! Enjoy what you have, with thanksgiving and contentment. Our relationship with God is not determined by the possessions we have or do not have, but by His Son, Jesus who redeemed us with His own precious blood. To this end, we are His possessions and in that, we are already blessed. And even if we should have nothing in this present age, in Christ, we still possess all things (2 Cor 6:10).