My family and I recently spent a weekend in Sikeston, Missouri visiting my mother-in-law. We got to town late one Friday night and hurriedly unloaded the car. Tired from the drive and eager to get inside, we neglected to lock the car – lesson learned. The next morning, I discovered someone had been in our car during the night! Fortunately, not much was missing. When my youngest son, Marshall, found out his mp3 player had been taken, he was naturally disappointed. But I was so impressed with his response, “It’s only stuff, dad – Mathew 6.” Later he told his mother, “What’s really sad is the person who took my mp3 player will be lost unless he repents.” Such an amazing attitude for a fifteen year old to have! And a wonderful reminder for all of us!
Jesus taught, “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:25-34).
We sometimes forget that “it’s only stuff.” Consider some of the foolish attitudes we sometimes have toward stuff. Men seek to find happiness in owning more stuff, define success by how much stuff they own, think they can find real satisfaction by accumulating stuff, use their stuff to impress others, equate a great amount of stuff with security, and make stuff the object of their affection.
What should be our attitude toward stuff? First, we should realize the material things of this world are fleeting. “Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways” (James 1:9-11).
Second, we should realize stuff can provide comfort in this life, but it cannot provide lasting, eternal, security. “And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:16-21).
Third, we should learn to be content with what we have. “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness” (1 Timothy 6:6-11). How foolish it is for a person who loves his stuff to think he can be satisfied by owning more stuff!“He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity” (Ecclesiastes 5:10).
Fourth, our attitude should be, “It’s only stuff, dad.”