Q&A: Is it wrong to have hobbies and possessions?

Q: Here’s a subject I would like to know more about… Just about everyone has something they collect or some other type of hobby. As long as the sports memorabilia, antique car, golf outings, or whatever the case, is not higher in priority to a person than Jesus, is it OK to have money tied up in these things instead of giving more to the church? Is there a fine line where having “life more abundantly” ends and greed begins?
A: That is a great question. This is something that a lot of people struggle with. Hobbies or collecting things are definitely not wrong and not sin as long as they do not become a misplaced priority. Obviously we are not talking about activities that are in and of themselves sinful or lead others into sin.

Jesus tells us that he desires us to have life and have it to the full. The problem becomes when we feel like we have to have these things or hobbies to have a full life. Things don’t make you happy, and they don’t satisfy. You will never find the acceptance and love and satisfaction you desire in the things of this world. You are an eternal being and the things of this world are finite. And if you fill your life with finite things, you will always want and desire more. I think that is why we see so many unsatisfied people in this world. We all are in the constant pursuit of more to fill up our lives. But you can’t fill up an infinite soul with something finite. God is infinite and he is the only thing that can satisfy your soul. God wants you to understand that this life has purpose and meaning and it is this…God has placed you on this earth to discover who Jesus Christ is and to live a life radically devoted to him. Until a relationship with Jesus is the focus of each human being’s life, we will seek to fill our lives with other things and not be satisfied.

I also think that it is ok to spend money, time, and energy on our hobbies, as long as those things are not what we worship. We are all worshipers. Everyone on this earth is going to worship something. What we devote our time, energy, money, and focus to is what we worship. I think it is a healthy thing to examine what we are pouring our lives into on a regular basis and seeing if our priorities are in check. If God is our focus, and we are not neglecting what He is calling us to do and we love our family the way He tells us to, then having a possession or hobby is not wrong. If the hobby/thing is becoming a priority above God or our family, then it is time to refocus our attention onto the right things.

To answer your question about how much money to give to the church and where does the line leading toward greed start, I believe that God has specific instructions on that.

In Malachi 3:8, God’s word says…Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings.”

I believe that each of us should tithe, and after that, we should give offerings that are above the tithe as He lays it on our heart. After that, we should seek Him in how we spend the rest of our income that He has gifted us with. It all belongs to God and we should seek Him on how to spend all of our money. I believe that greed starts in the heart and it starts with the attitude of “I deserve…” Part of surrendering to Christ means handing over our checkbook as well and trusting His leading on how to spend our money wisely. My good friend Joe Sangl has a great blog that talks every day about what it means to honor God with your money and how to be wise with what God has entrusted to us.

Here is a great article I found on Materialism.

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