My desktop computer has died.
I have a notebook computer for work but, after 5 years, my faithful desktop has finally breathed its last and offered up its Pentium powered spirit. When any piece of technology dies or a new one releases, a lot of tech nerds immediately start doing the math on how long and how much they’ll have to save in order purchase the object of their desire.
Sometimes giving into that impulse, though, goes against God’s desire for our lives. As much as I hate it, God doesn’t necessarily want us going out and buying every that we want. Here are a few reasons why.
Writing to the Corinthian church, Paul says this:
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. – 1 Corinthians 3:11-13
Our foundation in life is Christ but we have the choice as to what we build on that foundation. God wants us to build things that last like relationships and his kingdom. But we also have the choice to build gold, silver, wood, Blu-rays, computers, clothes, Magic cards or action figure collections. As much as we may want to construct a building of technology and clothes, eventually it’ll all burn. And placing your Blu-ray collection or computer in a fireproof case probably won’t help either.
Ecclesiastes is one of the most depressing books in the Bible. Jeremiah is pretty bad but at least we know God’s people eventually returned home. In Ecclesiastes we see the thoughts of a man who denied himself nothing and realized it was meaningless. The writer concludes that, in the end, the goal of our lives should be to fear God and keep his commandments. I’m fairly certain, though, that I could fear God and have a new computer. Though it seems like the more we have the less we might fear God. Our rent went up and money is a little tight so Alycia and I are forced to fear God and trust in him. If I had a money tree and could afford any increase in rent, then we wouldn’t need to trust God as much and probably wouldn’t. I still don’t think that Star Wars on Blu-ray is meaningless, though.
We’re commanded to bring God the firstfruits of what we have. Too often my firstfruits have gone to Best Buy or Amazon. In the past I didn’t want to tithe because that 10% went a long way in getting me what I wanted. I thought to myself, “God has the cattle on a thousand hills, so he won’t mind if I buy this video game instead of giving him my offering.” It was backwards thinking then and it diminished God’s role as ultimate provider for my life. God is the source of everything we have and, even though the iPhone 5 is coming out and Modern Warfare 3 is dropping soon, we need to recognize him as such.
I’m all for owning nice things as long as our nice things don’t own us. New computers and new phones aren’t bad, but we should be sure that God doesn’t have something better planned for our money. And if our money always burning a hole in our pocket we may never see that better plan.
How does God weigh into your purchases?