Stuff Makes the World Go ‘Round

Confession- I love my bike. Her name is Sheila and she’s vintage. She and I go places otherwise inaccessible around campus by walking or driving. I have invested time and money in her and it is quite satisfying to make it up Mt. Everest… or those huge west campus hills!

Confession- I love my iPod touch. All of my music, some cool apps, world clock, and Wi-Fi goodness are all in my pocket. It is a neat and portable tool.

Confession- I love my computer. I appreciate that I can type and print something faster than I can write and it looks neater too. I enjoy keeping up with friends and the world news online.

Confession- I love my car. Her name is Shirley and there is a level of independence with her. I can go to Houston or shopping or anywhere I want without depending on anyone else and other people can come with me if they want. It is hard to make it around here without a dependable car!

I’ve been thinking… stuff is so important, especially in our keeping up with the Jones’ culture. We define ourselves and determine other people’s social status by stuff- home, car, clothes, gadgets, etc.

If my house burned down with all of my stuff in it, would I be ‘ok’? What if my car got stolen- how would I react? Anger? Bitterness? Depression? Trust in God?

If we base ourselves and our identity around stuff, then our identity will be contingent on our stuff. Then, if/when something happens to our stuff, then our foundation for understanding ourselves and others changes too. Stuff can melt, explode, burn, scratch, smash, be thrown off a roof, go swimming [cell phones anyone?], be cut, wear out, you fill in the blank. I need something much more stable. Something unchanging. Hmmm… Where can I find something like that? *Lightbulb!* How about my God?

“Whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God above, who created all heaven’s lights. Unlike them, he never changes or casts shifting shadows. In his goodness he chose to make us his own children by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his choice possession.” [James 1:17-18]

“I am the LORD, and I do not change…” [Malachi 3:6a]

“The grass withers, and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.” [Isaiah 40:8]

So much of what makes God God and people not God is the eternal existence. Were you there at creation, when Moses parted the sea, David wrote Psalms, or Jesus saved the adulterous woman? I wasn’t and I assume you weren’t!

“I am the Alpha and the Omega–the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come, the Almighty One.” [Revelation 1:8]

He is more stable, steady, and above us- His creation- that we will be blinded to His truths if we have a stuff tunnel vision. You know what I mean- I want that, so I have to work more, then I have less time for friends, church, family, etc. Or online shopping- great idea to get a good deal, but can be a bit time consuming if you play the fantasy game and scope out all the cool stuff. The bottom line seems to be where is the focus and what do we spend time and money on?

“Then he [Jesus] called his disciples and the crowds to come over and listen. ‘If any of you wants to be my follower,’ he told them, ‘you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me.’” [Mark 8:34]

“As he [Jesus] was starting out on a trip, a man came running up to Jesus, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what should I do to get eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good. But as for your question, you know the commandments: `Do not murder. Do not commit adultery. Do not steal. Do not testify falsely. Do not cheat. Honor your father and mother.’

“Teacher,” the man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was a child.” Jesus felt genuine love for this man as he looked at him. “You lack only one thing,” he told him. “Go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this, the man’s face fell, and he went sadly away because he had many possessions.” [Mark 10:17-22]

We must be willing, if faced with the choice between stuff and Him, to choose Him. So, I ask myself- am I? Are you?