Things; January 14, 2018

Ecclesiastes 5:11 As goods increase,
so do those who consume them.
And what benefit are they to the owner
except to feast his eyes on them?

Over the past two years I have really had this truth brought home to me as we have helped someone move out of their house where they had lived for many years. I was overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of things, physical objects that perhaps had intrinsic value and perhaps not, but which did no good to the owner at this point. Even so, the owner had great difficulty letting go of it all, even though, at 80, they got no benefit from them. Up to that point they had largely measured their life by possessions, and the reality that “you can’t take it with you” was no more than words to them. That was a powerful and beneficial lesson for me. Solomon had discovered the futility of material wealth, but he never seems to have discovered the immeasurable benefits of spiritual wealth. That’s one of the reasons his life was essentially a tragedy. As Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21) Spiritual treasure is good for a lot more than just looking at it!

I was raised by parents who essentially lived by Matthew 6:33. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” That gave me a huge advantage in developing a Biblical world view myself. I can’t say my parents didn’t want material things, or that they didn’t accumulate a good bit of them. I inherited quite a few items myself, but the question becomes, what to do with them now, since my descendants have no interest in them? Physical objects are ultimately ephemeral, which seems like a contradiction to our natural self, because physical is the opposite of ephemeral. However, God is the “ground of being,” and He is spiritual and not physical. I am learning more and more that physical objects are never more than tools. What is important is the souls of human beings, and our relationship with our Creator. I have been blessed on more levels than even I am aware, but every one of those blessings is to be held loosely, keeping it available to my Lord for Him to use as He sees fit. Not just material things, but physical and mental abilities and even life itself are ultimately His, and I am to live in active recognition of and gratitude for it all.

Father, thank You for all that You allow me to go through to teach me what is really important. Help me be a faithful steward of all You place in my hands, for as long as You want me to deal with it. May I rejoice to serve You however You direct, and not try to hang onto things when You say that time has past. May my attitudes and actions point people to You consistently, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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