|Good Morning Everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “Change can be good for you”
Our Bible verse for today: “If you want to be perfect,” Jesus said to him, “go sell your belongings and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard that, he went away grieving, because he had many possessions.” Matthew 19:21-22 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Do you own your stuff or does your stuff own you?”
Capitalism is a good thing. It’s the only economic system that makes any sense. The abundance we enjoy here in the USA comes as a result of our free-market economy. This is the understanding that the role of government is to provide just enough structure and guidance to keep things moving in the right direction, and then to get out of the way and let businesses and individuals engage in commerce. This encourages entrepreneurship and innovation, and it’s the engine that drives a healthy economy.
But as with everything, too much of a good thing can become a bad thing. Free markets depend heavily on effective advertising, and advertising in our day has become refined to such a high degree that it is essentially psychological manipulation. Advertising by nature is designed to create a sense of dissatisfaction in the consumer. Its purpose is to convince us that we need more, bigger, and better. In short, we need their product or service, we need it now, and we shouldn’t let anything stop us from getting it.
This creates the disorder known as “conspicuous consumption”. We’ve been conditioned to consume at an ever-increasing rate. We consume even when there’s no real need to consume, and we often over-consume to an unhealthy degree. People carry mountains of debt because they’ve purchased so many products and services that they either don’t really need, or which are much more than what they need, and we end up owning lots of stuff that we don’t even use.
Also, once you own all the stuff you bought, you have to take care of it. You have to maintain that big house, the cars and trucks and motorcycles and ATVs. You have to clean those guns, water that lawn, launder those clothes, organize the computer files, and on and on it goes. Soon your life is structured, defined, and hemmed-in by all the stuff you own and by all the responsibilities created by the stuff you own.
The rich young ruler in Jesus’ parable in Luke 19:16-22 wanted to follow Jesus. Jesus was glad to have him except that the guy was burdened and held back by all the stuff he owned. In his case there was so much of it, and it created such responsibilities and restrictions in his life, and he loved it all so much, that it was holding him back from going off on a great adventure with Jesus. This was the classic example of a good thing becoming a bad thing. He didn’t own his stuff, his stuff owned him – and it controlled him to the point of determining the future direction of his entire life.
Income, possessions, and all the rest that goes with this comfortable and affluent lifestyle that we all enjoy is a good thing. But too much of a good thing can become a bad thing if we love it too much and if it begins to define and control us. The rich young ruler needed to change his thinking about all that he had. He was owned by his riches, his life was controlled by it, and that ended up having a negative impact on the entire direction of his life.
My question for you this morning is, “Do you own your stuff, or does your stuff own you?”
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