The fine line between possession and obsession


Gospel Lk 12:13-21

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.” He replied to him, “Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?” Then he said to the crowd, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.”
Then he told them a parable. “There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest. He asked himself, ‘What shall I do, for I do not have space to store my harvest?’ And he said, ‘This is what I shall do: I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. There I shall store all my grain and other goods and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves but are not rich in what matters to God.”

There’s a difference between having material wealth and being greedy,  We all, in America, desire nice things.  Evidence the line of televisions exiting Costco on any given weekend.  Personally, in the last two months, I’ve bought a television, a car, a barbecue pit, and a DVD player.  I didn’t have to have any of them.  The car is a convenience, so my spouse doesn’t have to take me to the bus, or if my job situation changes, I won’t be scrambling for transportation.  The TV and DVD replace the one that conked out.  The BBQ, well, we love to BBQ.  The car replace the 19 year old one we used to have.  The thing is, today, there’s a commercial that says that one cell phone provider is better because you don’t have to wait two years to upgrade.  A guy sitting with another guy puts his phone on the table and says ‘It’s a 7’.  His companion puts his down and says ‘It’s an 8’.  Suddenly the other guy is dissatisfied with his phone. *Shakes my head*

Technology today is like that.  We all want the latest and greatest.  I say that’s obsession.  And yes, I used to be that way.  But while it’s nice to have the latest technology, it’s not essential.  When we upgraded all the TV’s in the house to flat screens over a 5 year period of time, there was a purpose, well, an excuse.  To make the room seem bigger.  I once bought an HD camcorder so I could use it to record talks at Church, at least that was my excuse.  The occasion I bought it for, I was told no recordings, so I returned the camcorder.  We spent a fortune on the televisions we bought, only to have them rapidly drop in cost.  But at least we’re not replacing them ‘just cuz’.  My computer is an All in One Touchscreen, but it’s almost 2 years old now.  It gets turned on about once a month.

Anyway, yes, we have nice things, but we try hard not to obsess over them.  Before we buy anything, we make sure it would affect us to do without it.  In some cases, in retrospect, we could get used to not having it, for sure.

The other part about obsession is that it can be looked at as something that controls you.  You’re obsessed with tennis if you miss work because you need to be at a match.  In London.  Tomorrow.  You’re obsessed (as I once was) with a musician who you spend money you don’t really have just to go see them in a venue a good distance from home.  Like going to see N’ Sync in Las Vegas (July 4 weekend).  Or attending the Maui Music Festival just because your favorite artist is going to be there, and spending extra money so you can go backstage to meet the artists.  I think it borders on obsession to follow someone on Twitter.

So make sure that you’re in control of your life, and do that by acknowledging that God is in control in your life.  When you wake up, and when you go to sleep, thank God for all that he’s given you, all that you are, your talents as well as your challenges.  Wake up with joy in the morning.

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