As a kid I was taught that my stuff was important. I was taught to take care of my stuff, and if I was going over to a friends’ house, I was taught that I was to take care of their stuff. One time when my parents invited some of their friends over who had children as well, I found out that not everyone was taught what I was taught. In the span of a few hours, these children-raised-by-Huns broke three of my favorite toys. I was devastated and confused. How could they not understand that stuff is important?
This past Sunday we confessed the Seventh Commandment together:
“What is the Seventh Commandment?
You shall not steal.
What does this mean?
We should fear and love God so that we do not take our neighbor’s money or possessions, or get them in any dishonest way, but help him to improve and protect his possessions and income.“
The Seventh Commandment begins a whole section of the 10 Commandments that deals with how we treat the possessions of our neighbors. The 7th commandment warns us against theft of things, the 8th against theft of reputation, the 9th against the desire for theft of lifestyle, the 10th against the desire for theft of things. The amazing thing about those 4 commandments? They are proof that God cares about “stuff”.
Too often we get into this strange way of thinking where we fool ourselves that God doesn’t care about stuff. God doesn’t care about money. God doesn’t care about our car. God doesn’t care about our house. God doesn’t care about our intellectual property. God doesn’t care about…well…our stuff. Which is bonkers. Because God gives us our stuff. God wants us to treat our stuff well and He wants us to treat other people’s stuff well….maybe even better than our own stuff. It grieves God when we don’t care about stuff. Stuff is important.
To denigrate the stuff that God has given us is a sin that is an affront to God the Father Himself. He richly and daily provides for us, and so often, we dishonor His gifts of provision. Moreover, when we don’t care for the stuff that we are given and the stuff that God has given our neighbor, we become un-tethered from the ideas and realities of value. The ability to value is an important Christian ability, because so much of Christianity has to do with value.
Jesus makes it clear that without the ability to value things, we miss out on God. The Rich Man in the story of Lazarus, the Parable of the Talents, the Pearl of Great Price, and many other of Jesus’ sayings reveal that when we lose our ability to properly value stuff, we lose the ability to properly value people and God.
God cares about value. That is an amazing statement in itself. God created everything we see around us. By a certain logic, since He created everything – everything should have the same value to Him. But that’s not the case. God valued us, His human creation, above all else. He valued us so much that He gave us His Son to die upon a cross. When we value our stuff, and when we show value to our neighbor’s stuff, we begin to understand His valuation better.
God cares about stuff because He values us. May you show value to someone and their possessions today as an outgrowth of God’s valuation of you.