Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven.~Matthew 6:19-20 NLT
Extravagant beyond imagination was all that ran through my mind.
George Vanderbilt created Biltmore in 1895 for family and friends as an escape from everyday life. His descendants still own this magnificent display of wealth that rests beautifully on 8,000 acres of land. After six years of construction, George officially opened the estate on Christmas Eve for himself, his wife Edith, and their daughter Cornelia.
As my wife and I and hundreds of others toured selected rooms of this immaculate estate, we witnessed opulence at its best. A banquet hall that once sat thirty-eight people around a large oak table, a Billiard Room, a library where nearly half of Mr. Vanderbilt’s 23,000 volume collection lines the walls in floor-to-ceiling bookcases, guest bedrooms with private bathrooms, a bowling alley, and a 70,000-gallon indoor swimming pool.
I couldn’t help but wonder what George Vanderbilt thought about Jesus’ warning against storing up wealth on earth. But then again, did Jesus really say it was a sin to do so? Perhaps His warning was only against the dangers of what wealth can do to our focus. “I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” (Matthew 19:24 NLT).
Possessions can be used foolishly or for God’s purposes. Many people still enjoy the elegance of the Vanderbilt Estate. King Solomon was the wealthiest man ever to live, but he divided his loyalties and possessions between the one true God and the false gods of his many wives. My possessions are given by God and should be used to advance His Kingdom.
Nor can we take our possessions with us when we die. Mr. Vanderbilt left all his possessions behind at fifty-one. No doubt, he ensured through a will that his family inherited what he had labored for. Wills are important, but we’ll still leave what we’ve amassed behind. Jesus says we should store our goods in heaven, and this we do by our service to Him.
Possessions are temporary, but they have eternal implications. We can use them selfishly and be poor eternally or use them to benefit others and God’s work and be rich eternally. Which are you doing?
What is your view on possessions?
Father God, guide me to understand that all I have comes from You and should be used for Your honor and glory.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Copyright 2020: Perspectives on Possessions: Author Martin Wiles: All Rights Reserved