Take an inventory of your life. What do you own right now? Whatever possessions you have are no accident, and not a product of mere happenstance. At the micro level, Jesus promises to care for even the minutest everyday details, like pocket money and food and clothes. As we see in Scripture, in these small possessions, God calls us to live with moral standards because we are susceptible to sinning our way into big problems (like unreasonable consumer debt). God calls us to be wise with money and to work and live economically fruitful lives, and to be careful with our possessions.
At the macro level, all wealth distribution and re-distribution is the work of our sovereign God (Ecclesiastes 5:18–6:2). All of our possessions are his, and he gives (and takes away) as he sees fit. God makes the poor and he makes the rich (1 Samuel 2:7).
So how does God decide to distribute wealth in the lives of his creatures? This plays out in many different ways.
- God may give you many possessions, but not give you the power to enjoy those gifts — a great tragedy (Ecclesiastes 6:1–2).
- God may give you accumulated wealth, and give you the power to enjoy those gifts — a great blessing (Ecclesiastes 5:19, Proverbs 10:22).
- God may give you possessions, but through future persecution, he may take all those possessions away from you in the end (Hebrews 10:34).
- God may call you to a life of unalleviated poverty (2 Corinthians 6:10; 8:9).
- God may give you a life of wealth (2 Chronicles 32:29).
- God may give you a life in the middle — neither poverty nor wealth (Proverbs 30:8).
- God may bless you with great wealth, then take it all away and reduce your portfolio to ash, and then restore you with doubled wealth (Job).
- God may make you wealthy and then call you to voluntary poverty in order to show the world that he is your greatest treasure (Matthew 19:21; Mark 10:21; Luke 18:22).
None of these situations is normative, if God sovereignly dispenses possessions to us as he sees fit (which he does). When it comes to possessions, our experiences will vary greatly. But no matter how much (or how little) we possess, there are four things that will help us rightly enjoy the gifts God has given us.