Mastering the Material Mindset
Text: Eccl 5:10-20
When Orville and Wilbur Wright finally succeeded in keeping their homemade airplane in the air for fifty-nine seconds on December 17, 1903, they rushed a telegram to their sister in Dayton, Ohio, telling of this great accomplishment. The telegram read, “First sustained flight today fifty-nine seconds. Hope to be home by Christmas.” Upon receiving the news the sister was so excited about the success that she rushed to the newspaper office and gave the telegram to the editor.
The next morning-believe it or not-the newspaper headline stated in black, bold letters, “POPULAR LOCAL BICYCLE MERCHANTS TO BE HOME FOR HOLIDAYS.” The scoop of the century was missed because an editor missed the point.
Yet isn’t that what happens every year at this time. People rush around buying gifts. The music of “Silent Night, Holy Night” is played on radio stations and in shopping malls. There is talk of peace on earth and good will to all men. Miniature manger scenes are set up in many homes. Yet for all this activity, much of the world misses the point of Christmas. They never understand that the greatest gift ever given was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. And so, we spend more time telling about the coming of Santa than the coming of the Savior. ~ unknown
I. There is a Grasping Appetite for Material Things.
A. Unending striving
- The unreachable dream
- Always one more thing to get.
We were camping in Ontario and one of the boys found an unscratched lottery ticket. We won $5. We exchanged it for five more lottery tickets—after all, I reasoned, we hadn’t spent any of our own money and we just might win $50,000. This time we won $10. We exchanged it for ten more lottery tickets and we won—nothing!
How quickly that monster called “More, More, More” filled my head with visions of paying off my mortgage and my car loan and ...
B. Unreachable satisfaction
- I can't get no satisfaction
- The disappointment of the last present opened
II. There is a Gripping Anxiety for Material Things.
A. Worry over the distribution of wealth
- Bill collectors consume - Easy Come Easy Go?
-Settling the estate
- Worry over who gets what.
B. Worry over the destruction of wealth
- No security from harm
- Insurance woes
III. There is a Greater Answer to Material Things.
A. Finding Contentment in God relieves the appetite for material things.
- Satisfaction can only be found in God.
*Riches consist not in the extent of your possessions, but in the fewness of your wants. Anonymous
*In Our Daily Bread, Philip Parham tells the story of a rich industrialist who was disturbed to find a fisherman sitting lazily beside his boat. “Why aren’t you out there fishing?” he asked.
“Because I’ve caught enough fish for today,” said the fisherman. “Why don’t you catch more fish than you need?” the rich man asked. “What would I do with them?”
“You could earn more money,” came the impatient reply, “and buy a better boat so you could go deeper and catch more fish. You could purchase nylon nets, catch even more fish, and make more money. Soon you’d have a fleet of boats and be rich like me.”
The fisherman asked, “Then what would I do?”
“You could sit down and enjoy life,” said the industrialist. “What do you think I’m doing now?” the fisherman replied.—Scott Minnich Toms River, New Jersey
B. Full Confidence in God releases the grip on material things.
-The only place that confidence can rightly be placed.
- The mall of the manger
- Santa or the Savior
A few days before Christmas two women stood looking into a department store window at a large display of the manger scene with clay figures of the baby Jesus, his mother, Joseph, the shepherds, the wise men, and the animals. Disgustedly, one said, “Look at that. The church trying to horn in on Christmas.”