Is It Materialism Or… Manifestation? Hmm…
How quick are you to judge people when you see them? We all do it, so let’s be honest. We all come to conclusions about people based on perceptions. For example, if you have what I perceive to be a strong southern accent, then I will conclude that you are from the south. If you speak in Ebonics, then I will conclude that you are African American (as I am) or live in an urban environment. No shade. These are just a couple of the conclusions I draw when I see someone before I have a chance to know them and form an opinion that’s based on the person and not the stereotype.
So how about Christians who have a lot of “stuff”? What conclusions do you draw about them when you see them with their “stuff”? I’m an author and recently I was the featured speaker at a book club meeting. In one of my books, Bad Choices Can Be Deadly, I have a character who is a Christian and she has a lot of material possessions. In the story line she has the means to afford them. To me, it was no big deal when I wrote it. But my character sparked an interesting discussion. One of the members of the book club said that if the character “calls herself a Christian”, then why did she have so many name brand items and labels. Side note: I must be honest and tell you that phrase “calls herself a Christian” has always gotten under my skin. Because to me it’s laced with judgment. If a person “calls himself or herself a Christian” it’s because of John 3:16. We all have to work out our own salvation. And we all fall short. And we are not called to judge one another, we’re called to love one another. The Holy Spirit convicts and God judges and we love. But my irritation to the side, her comment about my character provided great discussion and got me thinking.
When we see someone who identifies himself or herself as a Christian what perceptions do we automatically conclude? And when we see them with “stuff” why is there an assumption made by some that what we see is materialism?
I’m going to present an alternative view to consider the next time you see a Christian who’s driving a Lexus, carrying a Louis Vuitton bag, and wearing Prada shades. Maybe what you see is manifestation. Manifestation of the seeds that they have sown. Maybe what you see is a manifestation of their tithes. God tells us when we tithe, He will open up the windows of Heaven and pour out blessings that we won’t have room to receive it all. Now for some, maybe that’s the latest Ford Focus, a Coach purse, and a pair of Nine West sunglasses. For someone else, it might be a Bentley, a Gucci bag, and a pair of sunglasses so expensive I’ve never heard of them.
When it comes to “stuff”, it’s about the place that the stuff holds in your heart. If you value your “stuff” more than you value your relationship with God, so much so, that you are living in disobedience to obtain or keep it, then there needs to be course correction for you. And that’s not my job. That’s God’s job. God will help you put your “stuff” in the right perspective. But if you have an appreciation for what God has blessed you with and you’re a tither and you sow seeds and you give easily to others and you’re obedient. And your needs are all met and you are living in the land of the overflow, then what you have is manifestation! Manifestation of God’s promises in His Living Word to you. And it’ll be more than just stuff. You will see the manifestation of His goodness towards you spiritually, physically, and financially.
And He might do to you what He does to me. From time to time, I’ll have something that I really, really, really like. You hear me? I mean, I really, really, really like it and want to keep it. And He’ll make me give it away. He never wants me to place anything higher than my love and reverence for Him. And to give you an example, just recently, I stopped in a pawn shop because I like to browse (don’t judge me) and I saw a tea cup. I have a very good friend who collects them, so I decided to buy it for her. I just wanted to be a blessing to her. The store owner talked me into buying the entire set of dishes. The antique tea cups, plates, tea pot, everything! At that moment, I stopped thinking about my friend and thought about how beautiful the whole set was going to look in my China cabinet. But God told me to give her the entire set. And I had to make sure I was hearing Him correctly, because it was etched in hand-painted gold and it was absolutely beautiful. I’d also done some research on it and it has rich history and a pretty nice monetary value. So I will be transparent with you and tell you that God did have to tell me more than once to give it away. LOL. But I refuse to be willfully disobedient to Him, and I settled it in my heart and reached out to my friend and asked her to come over. But I didn’t tell her what I had for her. Let me tell you, seeing her smile as she unwrapped the first item was well worth my obedience. And then get this, she’d been looking at the exact same set in the exact same store and it just so happened that she didn’t have the money on her the day she was there. And God knew that this tea set was one of her heart’s desires. And He thought enough of me, to send me into a pawn shop, that I’d never been in before, and use me as the vessel to bring that set to her. I don’t typically share when I do things for others because it should be done privately. But I share this story with you because I really want everyone to understand that we must crucify our flesh daily and be obedient always. My friend’s joy and God’s goodness towards her brought me far more joy than I would have had if I was selfish and placed the “stuff” before my God. I’m just sayin’…
And food for thought. 1) If the “stuff” in this world isn’t for Christians, then who’s it for? God says the wealth of the wicked is laid up for the righteous. And 2) If you’re not supposed to have “stuff”, then just how broke are you supposed to be? Who decides the line that you’re not supposed to cross? If I can’t have a Lexus, can I have a car at all, or should I catch the bus? If I can’t have a Louis Vuitton bag, should I use a Kroger plastic bag and not have a purse at all? I mean really, where’s the line?
I have love for everyone! If you want to judge me for my beliefs, then that’s really none of my business. You are entitled to your thoughts and opinions. But just for the record, when you see me with my “stuff”, it is my manifestation of my obedient walk with Christ!
Be Blessed and Have A Fantastic Day!
– I am not a minister, preacher, evangelist, etc. I am just a woman who has a heart for God.