American’s spend roughly $ 13,000,000,000 a year on mattresses. The cumulative amount we spend on mattresses annually is more then the GDP of many developing countries! I point this staggering statistic out not to make us feel guilty but to re-emphasize what Steve pointed out this weekend, that we are all rich by global standards.
I’ve been meditating a lot on what he said about how a greedy person is marked by the fact that they see possessions as only for personal pleasure. The greedy person in Luke 12, sees the gifts that God has given them as only for themselves. The only good purpose they can imagine for the stuff they’ve been given is their own gain and their own pleasure. They have “disordered attachments” placing to much worth on their things. It’s easy to see this trait of a greedy person in my life. I don’t think enough about how I can be rich toward God. I think just about what I can do for myself with what I get.
I’ve been reminded of a counterexample from the book of Psalms. I do not claim to be a biblical scholar in the credible sense. The consensus understanding of what’s happening in Psalms 72 though, is that David is the one speaking and that although he is, in part prophesying about the reign of Christ’s kingdom, he is also praying for the actual reign of his son, Solomon. This is also what I get from the text at face value. David prays passionately for blessings and provisions for his son. Verse three says: “Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness!” Of Solomon’s kingdom he prays in verse eight: “May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth!” David certainly wasn’t bashful about seeing possessions as good things. He prayed for lavish prosperity for Solomon. However, throughout the prayer he always emphasizes the why of those riches. He prays that Solomon would be blessed to be a blessing. Psalm 72:17 says: “May people be blessed in him, all nations call him blessed!” It is for “all the nations” that David wants Solomon to receive fame, power, and wealth; not for his personal pleasure. In verses twelve and thirteen he prays: “For he delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper. He has pity on the weak and the needy…”
In America we are all rich by global standards and as Steve pointed out we are all rich by Biblical standards. Think of what could be done with 13 billion dollars of mattress money! What will you do to steward the blessings you’ve been given? How might God be calling you to use your gifts and possessions for purposes beyond your own pleasure. How might we be “blessed to be a blessing”?
1 Timothy 6:17-20
Author: Marshall Sandoval