Some years back, when I was in the U.S., I saw part of a television program called Hoarders. It was about people who hold onto so much stuff, that their homes become filled up and dangerous. Then, when I was in the U.S. last year, there was another show called Tidying up with Marie Kondo. In that program, Marie Kondo helps people to pare down their belongings and organize them.
In this week’s reading from Luke’s Gospel, Jesus says “one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions” (12:15). Then, Jesus tells a parable of a rich man whose land produces an abundant crop, and instead of sharing, he wants to hoard it. So, it seems hoarding, keeping things for ourselves, is not a new challenge for people after all.
But when is enough, enough? That is a question we can ask ourselves. I’d imagine the answer is different for everyone. One of my friends collects hippopotamus figurines. It gives her great joy. Does it keep her from acting in love toward God, herself or her neighbor? No, it doesn’t.
The issue isn’t having treasures, rather where our focus is. If stuff, and the keeping of that stuff becomes our only focus, then it isn’t treasure at all. The stuff keeps us from living the kind of life God intends for us. Being rich toward God (12:21) means not storing up treasures for ourselves or keeping the focus on me and I (as does the rich man) (12:18). Being rich toward God means we are called to be people who live out God’s command to love God, ourselves and our neighbor.
Yours in Christ,