Have you noticed how many men are driven by stuff and status in life? We are continuing to measure our success as men based on the world’s definition of success. Guys have bought into the idea that stuff equates to power and power means status and we like to have lots of status don’t we? In fact, men have become so driven by this view that we will sacrifice almost anything, including our relationship with God, in order to be viewed as powerful by our peers. In years gone by we most often associated this with material possessions but today, men have moved well beyond material possessions and we have begun to use people and relationships as part of our stuff and status. If you are having trouble believing that, just look at the number of marriages that are ending in divorce. And if that doesn’t do it, look at the number of marriages after the first that seem to have the same end result. Set aside marriage for a moment and look at what we are doing to this generation of children. We have decided stuff and status can replace genuine love and if we just keep supplying the material “stuff”, our children will turn out healthy, wealthy and wise. If you believe that, I have some great beach front property here in Tennessee I would love to talk with you about purchasing!
While this may seem like a relatively recent phenomenon, the Bible gives us a number of examples where men have behaved in this manner. Take for example the rich young ruler. Luke 18: 18-23 tells us “A certain ruler asked him, ‘Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ ’Why do you call me good?’ Jesus answered. ‘No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’ ’All these I have kept since I was a boy,’ he said. When Jesus heard this, he said to him, ‘You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth.” This young ruler, like many of us, wanted some easy to follow formula to earn his way into heaven. He thought that Jesus would assure him, because of his adherence to the “rules”, that he was heaven bound. Imagine his disappointment when he heard Jesus say “Sell everything you have and give to the poor.” Let me try to make an important and definitive point here; this was not about having wealth or possessions, it had everything to do with what the rich young ruler valued most, what he truly worshiped. You see his stuff and his status were more important to him than developing an obedient relationship with his Heavenly Father. He hoped the other things in his life took care of compliance with God but he wanted to be known for his stuff and status. He was enamored by the idea of others looking at him with envy and wanting to be like him. I think what disappoints me most is that many of us men have yet to learn from examples like the rich young ruler. So many men are still looking to achieve stuff and status, not for God’s glory but for their own.
As I read the 103rd Psalm, I believe that David has experienced the stuff and status mentality and he defines for us where we should really be focused. David says “Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits- who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103: 1-5) Let’s not forget that David was a king and possessed stuff and status. In this Psalm David is telling us what really matters when it comes to our relationship with God. When you boil it down to the key point, whatever stuff or status we may have, it all comes from our Heavenly Father. It is when we turn our eyes and our heart away from Him that we open ourselves to the false belief that we have some how become important and worthy of God-like status. Truth is, no matter what we accomplish it can never come close to what God has freely given to us.
My challenge to you is to do a stuff and status check-up. Take a hard look at yourself and honestly assess where you are in your life as it relates to this question. Is your greatest concern acquiring more stuff and gaining more status or are you focused on using the blessings that God has given you to glorify Him? Do you desire God’s approval or men’s? Are you focused on short-term riches or are you standing on the promises that God has made to you regarding eternity? It is time for God’s men to stop portraying the world’s standards and become living examples of God’s tremendous love and provisions. We need to stop pretending to be God’s men and truly become a reflection of what God has and is doing in our lives. When we can truly accomplish this, success or failure by the world’s standards pale in comparison to the impact we can have on our world as it relates to where people will spend their eternity!