Culture says life’s about stuff so make a lot of money, buy a lot of things and then you’ll be happy. God says: I designed you to find happiness and joy and fulfillment in the context of meaningful relationships.
We see this in Genesis 2. In Genesis 2 Adam is in the Garden of Eden. He’s got a great job naming the animals. He’s financially independent, with abundant sources of food everywhere he looks. And he’s the proud owner of a lovely garden home (with no mortgage, no utilities and no taxes). Most of us think “He’s got it made!” That’s the dream! But God looked at Adam and said “It is not good…” (Genesis 2:18). Though Adam had it all, in terms of financial security, God said something was missing. What was missing was meaningful relationships. So God created Eve. Once Eve was created, God looked around at what he made and said “…it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). God’s message to us in the Old Testament is that life is about relationships.
I recently read Barrett, my two year old, a book by Francis Chan called The Big Red Tractor. In this book the village people would plow their fields by pulling and pushing the big red tractor. One day the farmer finds the owner’s manual while cleaning his attic and learns that the tractor was designed to run on it’s own. No one believes him but he diligently uses the owner’s manual to make the necessary repairs. After weeks of work, the tractor is fixed and he plows the entire field in one night. The people can hardly believe that what the farmer told them turned out to be true.
In the same way, it might be hard to believe, but we were designed to find fulfillment and happiness in the context of relationships (a relationship with God and then meaningful relationships with others). Jesus puts it this way in Luke 12:15, “one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” There it is again! Life is not about stuff, it’s about relationships! Stuff is temporary! It all ends up in the dump. For a Christian, relationships are eternal. Why invest a disproportionate amount of time into accumulating stuff over developing relationships? Relationships are 100% of the time, the better investment. Why? Because life is about relationships!