Predictably, the discussion about materialism engendered more questions than answers. One of the things that became clear as I read Lindsay’s post was that I’m not really sure how well I understand what materialism really is. Just goes to show us how the body of Christ works. Thanks, Lindsay! Here are the questions; maybe later in the week I’ll see how well God’s Word can answer some of them.
- Can I be materialistic and poor? materialistic and have no possessions?
- Is materialism defined by what we own, or how we obtain what we own, or how we think about what we own, or some combination of all of these?
- What are the Bible words to look for when considering this topic? greed? trust? stewardship? loving the world? respect of persons? riches?
- How do I know if I’m trusting in riches?
- How do I know if I love money?
- Does using things to serve God make having things okay?
- Does it matter how we get things? Gifts from grandparents, name brand clothes from thrift stores, Craig’s List?
- If a person gave me an entire household of things, would it be wrong to keep it? would it matter what we keep? property? furniture? toys? boats, expensive cars, exotic pets?
- If I have the money to buy something more expensive that will last longer than the same item half its price, is that materialistic?
- Is it wrong to invest money for the purpose of serving God? Is it wrong to invest money for retirement?
- If I determine that I purchased or obtained something out of greed or for the purpose of trusting in riches, should I get rid of it?
- Is it wrong to purchase something for our children that others cannot afford? Let’s suppose that traveling to visit missionaries is a valuable experience for our children. Few people could afford to take their children on multiple trips overseas, but if I can, should I feel guilty for doing it? How about art lessons or musical instruments and lessons from a well-known and expensive teacher? the expense of Christian college?
- Will my children see money and wealth differently than children who grow up in homes with less money? Is that bad?
- Should we ever discuss the state of our finances with our children? Is it better for them to think that we are poor, if we are not?
I think that’s enough for now. Feel free to add to the list of questions, or give me a head start on answers!