Life is not measured by how much you own.
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- There are 300,000 items in the average American home.
- The average size of the American home has nearly tripled over the past 50 years, yet 1 out of every 10 Americans rent offsite storage.
- The United States has over 50,000 storage facilities, more than five times the number of Starbucks.
- The average 10-year-old owns 238 toys but plays with just 12 daily.
- 1% of the world’s children live in America, but they own 40% of the toys used globally.
“Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”
Then he (Jesus) told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’
“Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”
Then, turning to his disciples, Jesus said, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear.”
Luke 12: 15-22 New Living Translation
People love their stuff, especially in the US where we have more possessions per person than most people in many countries own in a lifetime. Some people are pursuing a minimalist movement, decluttering their homes, and downsizing their lives. Many in the world still live in poverty. So is Scripture saying we should we not accumulate wealth?
Joseph stored up grain to provide for Egypt during the seven years of famine.
“For seven years the land produced bumper crops. During those years, Joseph gathered all the crops grown in Egypt and stored the grain from the surrounding fields in the cities. He piled up huge amounts of grain like sand on the seashore. Finally, he stopped keeping records because there was too much to measure. So with severe famine everywhere, Joseph opened up the storehouses and distributed grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe throughout the land of Egypt.”
Genesis 41:47-49, 56 New Living Translation
The rich man in the parable was consumed with having barns big enough to hold his crops. He wanted to store his grain and live off the proceeds for many years to come, spending it all on himself.
Joseph was more concerned about the people he led and their needs. He stored up food for Egyptians to survive during famine, and to show them who God was…the loving Father providing for them.
Riches and poverty alike can produce anxiety and lead our focus elsewhere rather than on Christ. Whether you are wealthy, poor, or somewhere in between Jesus said He doesn’t measure your life by how much you own, but whether you use what you have for His kingdom.
“Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”
Luke 12:33-34 New Living Translation
He wants all of us to trust Him for our needs, which will free us up to have a relationship with Him unencumbered by the anxiety of this life. He wants our hearts to desire Him. Then we will be free to help others, as He commanded us to do, storing up heavenly treasures that will not be thrown away or decay. They will last for all eternity.
Copyright Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Colorado Springs, Colorado.