My Stuff

Halston, Gucci... Fiorucci...
…so goes the famous disco song of the 70’s.
Is it all about our designer clothes?
Well, yes and no. It’s really about our stuff.
We love our stuff. What kind of stuff do you have?
Antique cookie jars?

A Barbie doll collection?                                         
A signed album of Donna Summer?
A definitive DVD/CD or book collection?
How about toys? Computer toys, gadgets, cell phones, MP3 players…  you name it.

Some of our stuff we would never part with even for all the money in the world! $$$$$$$$$$$!
We love our stuff. It’s taken years for us to gather our possessions and it’s finally at a place where all our stuff defines who we are. Every lamp, every CD, every book, every chatchka screams who we are.
Our identity is stamped on each and every item we own. And of course there’s more to come… which is why we love to go shopping, antiquing, book hunting…ebaying. Yeah baby…I want my MTV, Showtime, Cinemax and HBO.

Well now that we’ve determined that we all have stuff we love. What does this all mean for us as Christians?
We all remember the story of Jesus and the rich man. Jesus told him to sell his possessions and give the money to the poor and come follow Him.
(Luke 18: 18 –30) Radical? Yes. And there are those who are called to this life of “Simplicity”, but… for the rest of us? Well…don’t worry…
I’m not going to preach to you to give away your collection of Prada bags or autographed photograph of Leonard Nimoy; because it’s not about the possessions themselves, but what this stuff really means to us.
So…what does this stuff really mean to us anyway?

Since we were born, we’ve wanted…wanted our mothers, wanted food, wanted comfort, wanted happiness, etc. But instead of comfort and love, our tired mothers started to substitute herself with a pacifier…soon it became a rattle, toys, candy, games, TV, etc…all substitutes for real affection. We came to find comfort in things. These things kept us company, distracted us, amused us and became our companions. We chose things that made us happy…things that touched our senses.
How many of us had dolls or action figures?
We gave these dolls personalities and in our minds they became our friends. The same with TV and books. The television and book characters also became our friends…friends who understood us.
Well guess what? None of it was real. The dolls were made of plastic and the book characters were in our mind. None of these things could really love us back…but we took comfort in them anyway.

Now as adults we are still the same way and we still derive a lot of comfort & pleasure from our possessions. Our stuff is evidence of our success in life. As Americans we have been programmed to succeed and live the good life. The best clothes, home, car, entertainment system, etc.
Our stuff reflects our tastes, our senses and our economic worth. They also give us our identity.
We collect things because, well…if we didn’t, we would have nothing. And having nothing means a lot of loneliness and emptiness. So we surround ourselves with stuff to make up for a lot of nothingness in our lives.
Better to have than to have not.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s nice to have stuff and nice to be comfortable. A lot of our stuff triggers our imagination, makes our life fun, helps us to relax…there’s nothing wrong with any of it.
But when does it become a problem for us as Christian men and women?

Well…it becomes a problem when our stuff takes the place of God and other people. Did you ever spend all day on your computer/TV/toy/book instead of spending time with God or people? Did you ever yell at someone for accidentally damaging your precious object? Would you be devastated if you lost everything today? You see it’s NOT the stuff. It’s where your heart lies in relation to the stuff.

How then should I look at my stuff? Well why did Jesus tell the man to sell his possessions? Because Jesus knew the man’s heart and his heart was with his riches. Jesus was challenging the man where it mattered the most. He didn’t realize the stuff came from God. Yes the Lord actually blesses us with our stuff. Everything we have is from Him. God has blessed us and made our lives full.
And if one day our treasures, (including our stocks, bonds & mutual funds), should fade away (which they will), we know that these things are meaningless compared to the wonderful treasure God has in store for us through Jesus Christ our Lord.
So sure, enjoy your computer, but use it for the glory of God. Thank Him for your cell phone and
use it to reach out to a friend.
Thank the Lord for your beautiful home, but don’t forget to invite someone in for a meal.
God has blessed you…bless others also.

 


© 2003 Edrick


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