The Theology of Stuff: Kingdom Resources

I just bought a brand new smartphone.  It’s fun to play with all the new features and enjoy the afterglow of having something new and admirable.  But I’ve been through this before.  Soon the feelings fade and I’m left with an electronic device that will either be a help or a hinderance.  It can be a tool for great good, organizing my time and adding to my efficiency, or it can be a tremendous distraction, sucking time and energy away from relationships and less desirable tasks.  I have to ask myself a difficult                question.  Am I using this device as a “kingdom resource?”

What is a kingdom resource?  To answer that, let’s see what Jesus has to say about our stuff.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  (Matthew 6:19-21)

A kingdom resource is anything God gives to us that helps us lay up treasures in heaven.  We have a tendency to store up our treasures on earth, where they either give us pleasure in the moment or security for the future.  But many of those same things we treasure for ourselves can be used for God’s purposes, serving others and showing God’s love in a physical way.  Some things we have are God’s blessing for us, such as food, clothes, shelter and other basic necessities. Other things we keep so we can bless others.  These items may be used for hospitality, sharing with others, or bringing meaning to life.  That leaves all the other stuff we have that doesn’t bless us or anyone else. These are our treasures on earth, and there’s a good chance someone else needs them more than we do, that is, before they’re rusted moth-ridden thief bait.

It’s easy to find our self-value in the things we have, the status they bring, or the security of abundance.  Jesus calls us to find our self-value in him, in his sacrifice for us and the new life we live in his forgiveness.  What does that life look like?

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

When we seek God’s kingdom and the beauty of what is right and good, we see our world differently.  God provides all sorts of resources to help us in this task!  Take a good look at the things you own.  Why do you have these things?  What purpose do they serve?  Who is blessed by the things you have?  Are they being used as kingdom resources?  If not, get creative.  Find someone to bless.  Repurpose.  Declutter.  Simplify.  Find your treasure in heaven.

I’m pretty sure God could care less that my new smartphone is super-cool.  I just pray that my heart will treasure his kingdom and that this new resource will bless others.  While I’m at it, I’ll pray that prayer for you too.


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