The self storage unit industry is big business in the United States. In 2018, the self storage business generated approximately $36 billion in revenue. There are somewhere around 49,000 units in the US which is more than the locations of Starbuck’s and McDonald’s combined. This business employs more than 170,000 people.
Maybe that’s surprising to you, but probably not – chances are you pass at least one of these business on a weekly or even daily basis. The reason there are so many is simple – we have more and more stuff. And we have more and more stuff because it is the nature of life to accumulate. As we grow older, we accumulate more and more furniture, knick knacks, and, in most case, money.
The purpose of this post isn’t to debate the self-storage industry, though – it’s to talk about our habit of accumulation. Specifically, to talk about the accumulation of money. For while it might be the natural order of things to have more and more money as you progress through life, that also means there is a greater and greater danger to our souls as we get older. Because money is dangerous. Not necessarily bad in and of itself, but dangerous nonetheless. Read the warning Paul wrote to Timothy in this regard:
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out. If we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs (1 Tim. 6:6-10).
It’s that last line that should make us especially cautious – that the love of money is a lure that has caused, and will cause, many to wander away from the faith. As we accumulate more and more, we should be very aware that with that accumulation comes the lure to wander.
But why? Why does money have the potential to make us wander from the faith? Here are four reasons for you to consider:
Money creates residents rather than pilgrims.
When we come into Christ, we are made new. Brand new. With new tastes, new desires, a new family, and a new home. We are, so says the New Testament, pilgrims on this world – temporary residents with a sure and certain citizenship in another kingdom. The more money we have, though, the more comfortably we live. And the more comfortably we live in this word, the less we will long for and seek the next one. The more we establish our lifestyles here the less we will invest in the other one. Beware, Christian, for money makes us all very comfortable. Money makes us forget our true and lasting home.
Money enhances our need of self-protection.
Here’s another reason why money lures us from the faith – it’s because when you have more, you become more invested in protecting what you have. You spend an increased amount of resources, energy, and emotion devoted to making sure you keep what you’ve obtained. You therefore become less willing to sacrifice and take risks for the sake of the gospel and the kingdom. Money, whether we want to admit it or not, dramatically alters our priorities over the course of time.
Money provides competing avenues for satisfaction.
Money means, among other things, access. Access to entertainment, access to luxury, access to all kinds of things. And the more access we have to things, the more we will tend to find our satisfaction in those things. This is another way money can lure us from the faith – we suddenly have all kinds of avenues to pursue pleasure and satisfaction that weren’t available to us previously. We can begin to wander from the faith when, over the course of time, we are finding our joy and satisfaction in avenues other than Jesus.
Money bolsters our self-sufficiency.
Here’s one other reason why money can be such a tempting lure – it’s because the more money we have, the safer we tend to feel. And that sense of security is very, very appealing. But the security we are meant to find as Christians shouldn’t be in our bank account or our 401K’s – at least not ultimately. It should be in Christ and in Him alone. The more money we have the more we tend to look to those resources for that security, and in that, we become ever more self-sufficient instead of reliant on Jesus. We trick ourselves into believing the lie of our own press rather than remembering our abject need of Jesus.
Friends, we will accumulate. More and more. But let’s be careful as we do. Let’s be aware of the lure in our path lest our focus start to lead us from the faith.