Could this be why God isn’t answering some of your prayers?
John G. Wendel and his sisters were some of the most miserly people of all time. Although they had received a huge inheritance from their parents that made them wealthy, they spent very little of it and did all they could to keep their wealth for themselves.
John was able to influence five of his six sisters to never marry, and they lived in the same house in New York City for 50 years. When the last sister died in 1931, her estate was valued at more than $100 million. Her only dress was one she had made herself, and she had worn it for 25 years. The Wendels had such a compulsion to hold on to their possessions that they lived like paupers.
The Wendels may be more of an exception by the way they lived so frugally when they had great wealth, but their penchant for hoarding isn’t uncommon. In fact, it’s more common than not.
Many of us live lives of active consumerism, always seeking for and buying more. We fill our closets, stuff things under our beds, clutter our garages, and when our homes are overflowing with the things we continue to buy, we rent additional space in order to keep more stuff.
One of the fastest growing businesses in America is the self-storage industry, which generates a robust $15 billion annually helping people feed their desire to buy and keep more. About one in 11 Americans rents a mini-storage unit, totaling about 26 million such units in use today.
We want a lot, and we want a place to keep it all.
In spite of all we have, we not only keep buying more, we keep asking for more. Every day, we raise our requests for God to bless us with even more than we have.
Here’s something to consider: Could it be that God isn’t giving you what you keep asking for because you haven’t yet given away what He’s already given you?
“What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong — you want only what will give you pleasure,” James 4:1-3.
God never intended to continually bless us just so we can accumulate. God gives to us to meet our needs and so we can give to others …
“For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then provide a great harvest of generosity in you. Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when you take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God,” 2 Corinthians 9:10-11.
With as much as you have, why do you continue to daily ask God for more? Is it from need or want? What have you done with what you’ve already received from God? Are you just wanting to add more to it?
“… And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are wrong — you want only what will give you pleasure …”
So what’s the right motive?
God encourages us to ask for what we need. He also says, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires” (Psalm 37:4). When we delight in the Lord, what is important and valuable to Him becomes important and valuable to us. That will shape our desires, and aligns them with the will of God. Then our motive matches His!
If you really feel the need to accumulate, learn how to do it correctly from this instruction from Jesus:
“So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be,” Luke 12:32:-34.