Hearses Never Have U-Haul Trailers
31 Days of Courageous Hope - Day 23
Friday - July 23rd
Scripture to Read Today: Ecclesiastes 5:10-15
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We all come to the end of our lives as naked and empty-handed as
on the day we were born. We can't take our riches with us.
"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart." These words from Job, the most famous sufferer in the Bible (other than Jesus), summarize a reality many fight against their whole lives. The maddening life-long obsession with the pursuit of stuff often destroys families, devastates friendships, and damages communities. The quest intensely focused on material stuff comes in two different forms when it hijacks a life.
The first form of this pursuit is the most obvious: the greedy drive to constantly acquire more. This drive never finds satisfaction in more wealth, bigger things, and shinier stuff. But, there is a fleeting satisfaction in the moment of acquiring. It provides an immediate rush, but the rush quickly ends, and the need for more takes over to find another such high.
The other form of the pursuit of earthly stuff is not quite so apparent as the first: the greedy drive to hoard what has already been acquired. It is not focused on getting, but on keeping. While many forget this side of being greedy, it can be just as poisonous to the human soul and human relationships as the blatant drive to get more and more stuff. An obsession with keeping and hoarding emerges as stinginess, miserliness, and being considered a tightwad.
Both of the extremes of materialism and miserliness harm families and friendships. They disrupt multiple generations. They break tight-knit relationships that were thought to be unbreakable. Job continued after his comment about bringing nothing into this world and taking nothing out of it by saying, "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, may the name of the Lord be praised" (Job 1:21).
Whether you greedily seek to get more or keep what you have, the materialism and stuff of this world can ruin you. You can so focus on getting more and/or keeping what you already have you harm the people you love the most.
Materialism and the love of money can rob you of spiritual vitality and zap you of courage and strength. Your hope can become rooted in something other than Christ. Your greedy pursuits can make the stuff of this world your god, and you forget all about your need for a relationship with the true God - the one who created you.
The great evangelist of the 20th century, Billy Graham, used to say, "You never see a hearse pulling a U-Haul trailer." While the thought and image of such a thing seem almost disrespectfully silly, it gives us the sad image of a life lived with the love of money - a life devoid of love for God and others.
It seems all of us struggle with the greedy obsession of getting more or the greedy miserliness of keeping what we have. Which way would you err? Open your heart, your hands, your resources to generosity. Ask God to guard you against either greedy obsession.
Picture how big or shiny the U-Haul would have to be behind your hearse to match your handling of stuff!
Lord, expose any pockets of greed or materialism in my heart. Replace any greed within me with a spirit of generosity. Give me the attitude of Job – to see my life in light of eternity. - Amen