Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” [Luke 12:15 (NLT]
An illustration of a man stooped over with an enormous sack on his back adorned the cover of the church program. The man had a troubled look on his face as if thinking, “I’ve got this all this, now what I am supposed to do with it?” The words “Life does not consist in the abundance of possessions,” were superimposed over the picture.
Jesus told a parable about a rich man who needed to build a bigger barn to store all of his grain and goods. That very night, he died and everything he’d amassed was lost—left for someone else to have and enjoy. Most of us have way too much stuff but, instead of bigger barns, we buy larger houses, install cabinets in the garage, rent storage units or build sheds to house our things.
Stuff and such—we all have it and, chances are, we all have way more than we need or can possibly use. I don’t think I realized how much stuff we’d acquired until we sold two vacation homes this past summer. One home had been ours for thirty-seven years and the other for twenty nine and a whole lot of stuff and such can be accumulated in that amount of time. Although we sold both homes furnished and much was left for the new owners, there was plenty that had to be removed. As we decided what would go to our kids and friends, the charity resale shop or Goodwill, the dump, or back home with us, I realized (and was embarrassed by) the quantity of stuff we’d managed to amass over the years. How many parkas, boots, jeans, sweaters, caps, sneakers, and gloves do we need, especially when there are so many without any coat, pants or shoes? How many CDs, DVDs, books, games, and toys does a family need when there are children who don’t even have a set of crayons? I was shocked at how large we’d allowed that bag on our backs to get and how little we appreciated all that was in it.
We own our possessions but, if we’re not careful, our possessions can come to own us. When our stuff and such become a burden, as they were for the man on the church program, it’s not time to build a bigger barn; it’s time to get rid of something! Possessions, when no longer used or appreciated, belong in someone else’s barn! Then, instead of building a bigger barn for our things, we can build bigger barns to shelter the homeless, heal the ill, teach the uneducated, and feed the hungry. Let’s never make the mistake of thinking that, “He who dies with the most toys, wins!” As Jesus pointed out, that man doesn’t win, he just dies!
Abundance isn’t God’s provision for me to live in luxury. It’s his provision for me to help others live. God entrusts me with his money not to build my kingdom on earth, but to build his kingdom in heaven. [Randy Alcorn]
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 12:33-34 (NLT)]
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