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. ~Martin Wiles
Earthly possessions may pretend to grant happiness—as they did for the Vanderbilt’s, their family, and their many guests—but if the state of happiness disappears when the possessions do, then happiness was never truly experienced in the first place.Earthly possessions may pretend to grant happiness but if the state of happiness disappears when the possessions do, then happiness was never truly experienced in the first place. #VineWords @linesfromgod Click To Tweet
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.
Copyright 2020: Perspectives on Possessions: Author Martin Wiles: All Rights Reserved
Meet Our Contributor
Martin Wiles is an author, English teacher, and freelance editor who resides in Greenwood, South Carolina.
He is the Founder and Editor of the internationally recognized devotion site, Love Lines from God.
Wiles is the Managing Editor for Christian Devotions, the Senior Editor for Inspire a Fire, and a Proof Editor for Courier Publishing. He has also served as Web Content Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.
Wiles has authored A Whisper in the Wood: Quiet Escapes in a Noisy World (Ambassador International), Grits & Grace & God and Grits, Gumbo, and Going to Church (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas), Morning By Morning, Morning Serenity, and Grace Greater Than Sin (America Star Books) and is a contributing author in Penned from the Heart (Son-Rise Publications), Rise (Chaplain Publishing), and Love Knots: Stories of Faith, Family, and Friendships (VineWords Publishing).
He has served as Regional Correspondent and Sunday school lesson writer for the Baptist Courier and has also written for Lifeway’s Bible Studies for Life curriculum.
Wiles has also been published in Christian Living in the Mature Years, Mature Living, Open Windows, Proclaim, The Secret Place, The Word in Season, Upper Room, Light from the Word, Reach Out Columbia, Mustard Seed Ministries, Journey Christian Newspaper, Common Ground Herald, The Quiet Hour, Power for Living, Halo Magazine, Joyful Living Magazine, Christian Broadcasting Network, Sharing, Today’s Christian Living, These Days, Plum Tree Tavern, Eskimo Pie, The Scarlet Leaf Review, Creation Illustrated, LIVE, Purpose Magazine, Stand Firm, The Banner, Relevant, and Lutheran Digest.
He is a regular contributor to Christian Devotions, PCC Daily Devotions, Theology Mix, Inspire a Fire, The Write Conversation, and Vine Words: Devotions and More, and is a regular writer for the Dorchester County Eagle Record, the Orangeburg County Times and Democrat, and the Greenwood County Index Journal.
Wiles’ latest book, Don’t Just Live…Really Live is under contract with Ambassador International.
CONNECT WITH MARTIN WILES AT:
Managing Editor, Christian Devotions
Senior Editor, Inspire a Fire
Proof Editor, Courier Publishing
On the Web: Love Lines From God
Grits, Gumbo, and Going to Church https://www.amazon.com/Grits-Gumbo-Going-Church-Martin/dp/1798510375
Grits & Grace and God https://www.amazon.com/Grits-Grace-God-Heaven-Southern/dp/1645261379
A Whisper in the Woods: Quiet Escapes in a Noisy World https://www.amazon.com/Whisper-Woods-Quiet-Escapes-Noisy/dp/1620208652