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M. Stephen Lett: Beware of the Power of Materialism (Matt. 6:11)


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Materialism may not seem to be an issue of loyalty, but it is. Do we trust in Jehovah’s promise to provide what we really need? (Matt. 6:33; Heb. 13:5) W 08 8/15
 

Man was created as an intelligent creature with the desire to explore and understand :)

 

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41 minutes ago, New World Explorer said:

Our King, Jesus Christ is well aware of this, in fact he himself said: For you always have the poor with you, John 12:8 (no doubt this pains his heart)

Some of the problems mankind faces in this system is simply unsolvable, therefore greater our trust and reliance on our Father needs to be.  

 

Where then does hardwork come in?2 thess 3:10-12.

 

true,some problems are unsolvable,but what about those that are solvable?

 

I think what we should be looking at as Jehovah's people is how to balance hardwork and spirituality instead of making it to look like working hard to improve one's life is all an effort towards materialism.

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34 minutes ago, Ishaya said:

I think what we should be looking at as Jehovah's people is how to balance hardwork and spirituality instead of making it to look like working hard to improve one's life is all an effort towards materialism.

Now, you're touching the aspect of heart condition and appreciation for the truth, and this varies from person to person. 

Some will choose spiritual portion, some despite best encouragement, material aspect.  

Satan is waging a big war for our hearts! 

Man was created as an intelligent creature with the desire to explore and understand :)

 

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It is true that the rich suffer too,in fact there are not many people that don't know that, but the suffering of the rich cannot be compared with what the poor experience on a daily basis.
Personally im not desiring so much wealth,I'm not in competition with anyone.I just wish t be able to provide for my family things that make life comfortable,we need to have a good car to go for meetings and Assemblies,I need to be able to afford good schools for my children instead of sending them to public schools where a lot of social vices and misdemeanor is seen,I have to be able to live with my children in a safe neighborhood and be able to always provide good food and take care of hospital bills when they're sick.all this things can't be possible if you don't have a good salary.
There used to be a brother in my congregation who took his family to live in a very unsafe house in the bush simply because he could not afford to rent even a low cost apartment,he told me terrifying stories of how they have been attacked severally at night and how they barely feed well with his two children,this was a serious concern to us in the congregation.
Some brothers with families can't even afford a bus fare to Assemblies  which shift the burden on the very few brothers who have money.
I really think more needs to be done to encourage brothers to be hard working to be able to provide adequately the needs of their families instead of hoping to shift the burden on other brothers who they think have money.
 
 


When you say you want to provide for your family, that's a good thing. That's a clear Biblical command for husbands and fathers, and it's normal to be worried about that.

When speaking about subject like this, it is hard to compare situations. Economics, social structures and culture differ from country to country.

On the the other hand, Bible principles apply on all circumstances and situation we're living in. Jehovah has been clear in what he wants us to do now, and the organization will never change that view. When it comes to material things, Jehovah promised a few things. He didn't promise riches, nor a comfortable life according to our own perception. He did promise us the necessities according to what he has written down in the scriptures. And advices us to be content with that what he promised. Sometimes I have to remind myself what really are my necessities according to Jehovah.

You see, when we put our trust in Jehovah, and do things in the right order, Jehovah promises us to "add" (Matthew 6:33)

At our midweek meeting, last week, we discussed the chapter about our views about work and money. The elder doing the discussion made a nice remark. He said:
"When it comes to Jehovahs promises, it really boils down to trusting him. "Do I have enough trust that when I put kingdom interest first Jehovah will add the rest?" You see, we all have to do our part, but when we go beyond that, and say: thanks Jehovah, but really I am the one who has to make the effort to work hard to provide", Jehovah will say: oke! Be my guest, no problem, but then, I will take my hands off also".

Jesus command to stop worrying, followed by the promise that Jah provides, is the clear scriptural advise.

Therefore, Jehovah's people will never teach that we go beyond what is written and work harder than what God's Word encourages us to do. They will always teach to do our best, keep our main focus on our service and Jehovah will provide, according to His standard.

EDIT: But, brother Ishaya, when reading your comments, and listening to some news reports about the situation in the country you live in, I really can imagine it is a hard thing to balance all those aspects. Social unrest and economic hardships are very difficult circumstances when also bearing the responsibility for a family.
Jehovah sees all those different aspects and sees how you're trying to do your best to balance all the responsibilities you have

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1 hour ago, Ishaya said:

It is true that the rich suffer too

 

All the money one could possibly want didn't make this man happy - 

 

New details emerge in shocking suicide of billionaire Thomas H. Lee

https://nypost.com/2023/02/24/new-details-emerge-in-shock-suicide-of-financier-thomas-lee/

 

"the onetime “envy of Wall Street” was found in his office bathroom with a single gunshot wound to his head"

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I try to live by Proverbs 30:8,9.  It pretty much sums up the balance we need to have, which is somewhere inbetween.  Only an individual knows about their circumstances and where those boundaries are.  It's different for each person which is why we cannot judge anyone.

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6 hours ago, WilliamChew said:

Thank you William, incredibly appreciated. 

Man was created as an intelligent creature with the desire to explore and understand :)

 

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7 hours ago, Lee49 said:

 

All the money one could possibly want didn't make this man happy - 

 

New details emerge in shocking suicide of billionaire Thomas H. Lee

https://nypost.com/2023/02/24/new-details-emerge-in-shock-suicide-of-financier-thomas-lee/

 

"the onetime “envy of Wall Street” was found in his office bathroom with a single gunshot wound to his head"

 

Hey he has your name,are you related to him Br Lee?

You know its unfortunate how so much money ends up in the hands of people who don't know how to use it well.If he was a JW I'm sure he would be happier while being rich.

Non-witnesses don't have a purpose for living,they just live everyday doing the things they think can make them happy and when there is nothing more to do they become bored and depressed and suicidal.

 

Being a witness gives you a purpose for living,and there is so much you can do with your money in Jehovah's service that will give you endless joy.

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8 hours ago, Sepie93 said:



 

 


When you say you want to provide for your family, that's a good thing. That's a clear Biblical command for husbands and fathers, and it's normal to be worried about that.

When speaking about subject like this, it is hard to compare situations. Economics, social structures and culture differ from country to country.

On the the other hand, Bible principles apply on all circumstances and situation we're living in. Jehovah has been clear in what he wants us to do now, and the organization will never change that view. When it comes to material things, Jehovah promised a few things. He didn't promise riches, nor a comfortable life according to our own perception. He did promise us the necessities according to what he has written down in the scriptures. And advices us to be content with that what he promised. Sometimes I have to remind myself what really are my necessities according to Jehovah.

You see, when we put our trust in Jehovah, and do things in the right order, Jehovah promises us to "add" (Matthew 6:33)

At our midweek meeting, last week, we discussed the chapter about our views about work and money. The elder doing the discussion made a nice remark. He said:
"When it comes to Jehovahs promises, it really boils down to trusting him. "Do I have enough trust that when I put kingdom interest first Jehovah will add the rest?" You see, we all have to do our part, but when we go beyond that, and say: thanks Jehovah, but really I am the one who has to make the effort to work hard to provide", Jehovah will say: oke! Be my guest, no problem, but then, I will take my hands off also".

Jesus command to stop worrying, followed by the promise that Jah provides, is the clear scriptural advise.

Therefore, Jehovah's people will never teach that we go beyond what is written and work harder than what God's Word encourages us to do. They will always teach to do our best, keep our main focus on our service and Jehovah will provide, according to His standard.

EDIT: But, brother Ishaya, when reading your comments, and listening to some news reports about the situation in the country you live in, I really can imagine it is a hard thing to balance all those aspects. Social unrest and economic hardships are very difficult circumstances when also bearing the responsibility for a family.
Jehovah sees all those different aspects and sees how you're trying to do your best to balance all the responsibilities you haveemoji3590.png

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I trust in Jehovah constantly, but I also believe that faith without work is dead,we have to do work that Jehovah can bless.-James 2:26.

 

You know,I used to be a member of a prayer band some years ago as a student,and they have a strange understanding of the bible,they taught that we do not need to read our books to pass exams and that when we are sick we don't need to go to the hospital,that all we needed to do was to pray fervently for God's holy spirit.even when they fail exams for not studying their books they claim God was testing their faith in him.

All that was deception, Jehovah wants us to be hardworking and not to be lazy.If he provides everything for us miraculously then we don't need to do any work,buts that's not correct.

 

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6 hours ago, Loyal said:

No one is disfellowshipped for being materialistic, but materialism leads to immorality that causes disfellowshipping, Satan in one way or another intends to end Jehovah's people in various ways, and subtle ways. 

 

Sure they can be. Materialism could move someone to act dishonestly, to commit fraud, to steal, to use corrupt business practices and to act abusively towards employees or others. Depending on the severity, people can be disciplined and even disfellowshipped for these things. For some reason people only think of immorality as being "bad enough" to warrant going to the elders. But that's not how Jehovah sees it.

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The day that Armageddon ends, how many of our material possessions will we have saved from the "old world"?  Jesus told us, "because even when a person has an abundance, his life does not result from the things he possesses.” (Luke 12:15).  No material thing we have, no material thing we can get and no material thing we can hope for will get us everlasting life.  Not one thing.

 

If we had less expensive goals for a house. vehicle. clothing, etc. (content with necessities of life, 1 Tim 6:8)...could we free up enough time to Pioneer and help our family members to Pioneer?

 

*** g03 4/8 p. 21 What Is Materialism? ***
Self-Examination Needed
Christians are careful to avoid the trap of materialism regardless of their economic situation. The power of riches is deceptive and can choke spirituality. (Matthew 13:22) A shift in focus from spiritual things to material things can overtake us before we know it, with sad consequences.—Proverbs 28:20; Ecclesiastes 5:10.
Hence, Christians do well to examine their priorities and focus in life. Whether one has little or much in a material way, spiritually-minded people strive to follow Paul’s admonition to rest their hope “not on uncertain riches, but on God, who furnishes us all things richly for our enjoyment.”—1 Timothy 6:17-19.
 

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51 minutes ago, Esined said:

Materialism could move someone to act dishonestly, to commit fraud, to steal, to use corrupt business practices and to act abusively towards employees or others.

Also to become greedy, which is classed with fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, men kept for unnatural purposes, thieves, drunkards ,revilers and extortioners, they will not inherit God's Kingdom. 1Cor. 5:9-11

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I trust in Jehovah constantly, but I also believe that faith without work is dead,we have to do work that Jehovah can bless.-James 2:26.
 
You know,I used to be a member of a prayer band some years ago as a student,and they have a strange understanding of the bible,they taught that we do not need to read our books to pass exams and that when we are sick we don't need to go to the hospital,that all we needed to do was to pray fervently for God's holy spirit.even when they fail exams for not studying their books they claim God was testing their faith in him.
All that was deception, Jehovah wants us to be hardworking and not to be lazy.If he provides everything for us miraculously then we don't need to do any work,buts that's not correct.
 


You're absolutely right about that; there isn't a scripture that slightly supposes these things.

When it comes to material things however,
Jehovah doesn't want us to sit down and be lazy. No one here, nor in the publications supposed that idea. We have to do our part, and give Jehovah something to bless. But this part is limited. Jehovah does expect us to put our trust in Him, while keeping our main focus on spiritual matters. When the Bible says "add" in Matthew 6:33, it contains the promise that Jehovah will give something you didn't achieve yourself.

Remember the Scripture does not say: keep on searching first the kingdom and make a living.... And God will bless your efforts

It says: keep on searching first the kingdom and all other things will be added to you.

Jesus didn't lie when saying this

Jehovah wants us now to be especially hard working in the harvest work. Someone who is hard working in spiritual matters, being content with what they have materially according to Jehovah's standard, maybe working parttime, isn't lazy at all. They are very, very hard working people; their focus mainly on spiritual things.

And whatever the circumstances might be, only this focus is the focus encouraged in scripture.

But because situations differ, and we do have the responsibility to do our part, how someone puts these principles into practice, might differ from place to place.

For example, we can't say a brother or sister is materialistic solely because he or she works full-time.

It really boils down to the question: why am I doing this? Do I show my full trust in Jehovah's promises or not.

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1 hour ago, jwhess said:

The day that Armageddon ends, how many of our material possessions will we have saved from the "old world"?  Jesus told us, "because even when a person has an abundance, his life does not result from the things he possesses.” (Luke 12:15).  No material thing we have, no material thing we can get and no material thing we can hope for will get us everlasting life.  Not one thing.

 

If we had less expensive goals for a house. vehicle. clothing, etc. (content with necessities of life, 1 Tim 6:8)...could we free up enough time to Pioneer and help our family members to Pioneer?

 

*** g03 4/8 p. 21 What Is Materialism? ***
Self-Examination Needed
Christians are careful to avoid the trap of materialism regardless of their economic situation. The power of riches is deceptive and can choke spirituality. (Matthew 13:22) A shift in focus from spiritual things to material things can overtake us before we know it, with sad consequences.—Proverbs 28:20; Ecclesiastes 5:10.
Hence, Christians do well to examine their priorities and focus in life. Whether one has little or much in a material way, spiritually-minded people strive to follow Paul’s admonition to rest their hope “not on uncertain riches, but on God, who furnishes us all things richly for our enjoyment.”—1 Timothy 6:17-19.
 

Nothing will be saved. 

I remember from assembly that I attended,  the gist of it is that "focus on disciple making because you will see those people you helped to get in the truth but not your material possessions." 

 "Jehovah will save people but he doesnt guarantee that He will save your property." 

 

Things will change overnight. In time of disaster, war, pandemic, economic crisis, the value of your money will be  gone in just seconds. 

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2 hours ago, Esined said:

 

Claro que podem ser. O materialismo pode induzir alguém a agir de forma desonesta, cometer fraude, roubar, usar práticas comerciais corruptas e agir de forma abusiva com funcionários ou outros. Dependendo da gravidade, as pessoas podem ser disciplinadas e até mesmo desassociadas por essas coisas. Por alguma razão, as pessoas só pensam na imoralidade como sendo "ruim o suficiente" para justificar ir aos anciãos. Mas não é assim que Jeová vê.

did you watch the video ? i only mentioned a part 

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In one of the Public Talks that I give focuses of Jehovah's promise quoted  by Jesus...All of these things will be added to you".  the outline asks if you believe that God knows which piece of clothing you are wearing now will wear out first?  Yes, he knows everything.  Do you believe he can replace it with another adequate piece of clothing?  Yes, of course.  Will he replace it?  If we are seeking first his Kingdom interests in our lives.  God put the guarantee in writing.

 

But I have a family to support.  Don't you think God knows how many mouths you have to fee each day? ALL these things will be added to you.  Jesus pointed out that Jehovah feeds, clothes and houses millions, billions and trillions of birds and other living creatures each day.  How much harder can it bee to feed a few faithful millions of servants?  The choice depends on us.  Do we work for the Kingdom first and trust the end result to God's provision.

 

Has a parent (like a father) ever had a child that asked for help in a little project?  The parent may get some material, some tools and offer a little direction.  But then the child thinks they have it under control and doesn't want any help.  They know how to build a birdhouse.  So the parent backs off.  If the child wants to do it themselves, you let them. 

 

Then the measuring, cutting, drilling, nailing go all wrong and the child sits there frustrated and crying. If you as an individual insist on selecting the steps in your life, choose the path you want to go without heavenly direction, then God will let you struggle on (after all you are a "free agent").   But in the end, we can't get all the answers right.  The scripture clearly tells us that "unless God works on the house, it is of no use that builders labored on it".  Sooner or later we run out of experience, time, finances or we begin to use Satan's world to the full to make up the short-fall.

 

As Proverbs says, 

Proverbs 15:16…Better is a little in the fear of Jehovah Than great wealth along with anxiety.

 

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9 hours ago, Ishaya said:

I trust in Jehovah constantly, but I also believe that faith without work is dead,we have to do work that Jehovah can bless.-James 2:26.

 

This goes in all aspects of life. But no need to feel like you are an ”unserious christian“ if you are looking after your family’s individual economic circumstances by balancing out most importantly your responsibilities as a family spiritual head and keeping yourself active in spiritual activities. No one is in a position to judge that except the individual and their personal relationship with Jehovah. 

 

What is the tendency, however, is the suffering of spirituality that some suffer as a result of materialism. At what cost does keeping oneself occupied with materialistic pursuits, particularly unnecessary materialistic pursuits have on one‘s spirituality or setting spiritual goals? This can be a trap worldwide, and thus counsel must be given. The spirit of the world tells us you can live better, which has for some indeed cost them their spiritual lives. Because even for some people, being rich isn’t enough.  Ecc.5:10 In Toronto in my congregation was a well-respected brother, family head of 2 boys, WT conductor had a successful investment company, but continued growing the company, and sadly fell away spiritually.

 

The Israelites neglected the temple repairs because they made it a goal to be occupied with material pursuits to the point it was likened to idol worship. This is the counsel that christians need to be careful to avoid. Our focus in no matter what we do is to keep busy in spiritual activities, trusting in Matt.6:33, and not unnecessarily preoccupied in activities of this world that can take our focus and energy away.

- Read the Bible daily 

The chariot is moving ❤️‍🔥

Ps.86:11

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3 hours ago, jwhess said:

In one of the Public Talks that I give focuses of Jehovah's promise quoted  by Jesus...All of these things will be added to you".  the outline asks if you believe that God knows which piece of clothing you are wearing now will wear out first?  Yes, he knows everything.  Do you believe he can replace it with another adequate piece of clothing?  Yes, of course.  Will he replace it?  If we are seeking first his Kingdom interests in our lives.  God put the guarantee in writing.

 

But in the end, we can't get all the answers right.  The scripture clearly tells us that "unless God works on the house, it is of no use that builders labored on it".  Sooner or later we run out of experience, time, finances or we begin to use Satan's world to the full to make up the short-fall.

 

As Proverbs says, 

Proverbs 15:16…Better is a little in the fear of Jehovah Than great wealth along with anxiety.

 

I heard that talk before. Jehovah knows when we need  new clothes. etc. and lots of scriptures to support that Jehovah is aware whats happening about us in every details of our lives. Psalms 56:8 "you keep track of my wandering" 

 

And from our convention before it says " those trusting in money means trusting in Satan's system." 

Lots of advices we hear on higher education goals, on keeping our lives simple.  Because when we are BUSY (Be Under Satan's Yolk)  in material or academic pursuits, Satan is in charge of our goals. 

 

Let not money control our lives in making decisions such as career, choosing a mate, or what makes us busy.  Rather, we work hard on what kind of godly person we are when Jesus Christ comes and judges  all people. 

We have been reminded many times about materialism because its power is so deceptive. 

40 minutes ago, Woanders said:

 

 This can be a trap worldwide, and thus counsel must be given. The spirit of the world tells us you can live better, which has for some indeed cost them their spiritual lives. Because even for some people, being rich isn’t enough.  Ecc.5:10 In Toronto in my congregation was a well-respected brother, family head of 2 boys, WT conductor had a successful investment company, but continued growing the company, and sadly fell away spiritually.

 

 

 

Its true. Even with bro or sister in privileges can be trapped in the power of materialism. I remember Baruch, he has a great privilege being a secretary of Jeremiah but he grew weary. Indeed the spirit of the world is deadlier that the covid virus.  When died of covid but a faithful witness, your resurrection is sure. But materialism can destroy your relationship with Jehovah.  In my country, majority of bro and sis are pressured to take higher education that it choked their time in spiritual activities. There are many casualties, like young daughter or sons of  many witnesses that got involved in immorality, bad associations or got married to non witness.  Or some migrated to wealthier countries and got lost spiritually. For a certain, all of these advices about materialism are not to restrict us but to safeguard us into the new world. 

 

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, Esined said:

 

Sure they can be. Materialism could move someone to act dishonestly, to commit fraud, to steal, to use corrupt business practices and to act abusively towards employees or others. Depending on the severity, people can be disciplined and even disfellowshipped for these things. For some reason people only think of immorality as being "bad enough" to warrant going to the elders. But that's not how Jehovah sees it.

 

I think we need to understand that you can be hardworking and still be honest and Godfearing,especially when your objective of working hard is to earn money to help you serve Jehovah well.I think its similar to what @Sepie93  pointed out when he said it depends on why you are working hard.
Interestingly,When you're a Jehovah's witness,nothing gives you joy like the hope you have to live in paradise,no JW want to jeopardize that by doing dishonest things just to make money.only the no-JW can do things like that because they rest their hope and aspirations on this system of things.

Becoming a Jehovah's witness changes a lot about a person's perceptions and motivations in life.

 

I am very confident that everyone who becomes a JW by choice deeply desires to please Jehovah very well,but you might be surprised to know that  some brothers and their families are unable to attend the three day conventions because it requires alot of money and planing plus feeding because the assembly hall is very far away and sometimes you need to rent a place to stay because the accommodations in the assembly hall is not sufficient to house everyone.It is  frustrating when you can't afford to do what you need to do because it requires money and you don't have the money.

From my experience,i think we need money to serve Jehovah well,this is very apparent in my locality, I don't know if it is in other places.
 

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