MATT 6:24 No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be loyal to the one and have contempt for the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
As I write, my house has several boxes of things that mostly came from Mom’s basement during the past year. We were helping her to move into a smaller place when multiple boxes of my dad’s things and Mom’s mementos landed in our den and basement.
I read again Christ’s caution for the things that surround us. Hmm, besides my endless excuses of “too little time,” or “this stuff might really be worth something,” what keeps me from getting rid of these things? -Hold this thought for a moment, because I am going to talk about Buddhism.
Notice: Talking about Buddhism is not meant to disrupt our Christian beliefs, but merely to explain something which relates. If this offends anyone, then I sincerely apologize.
Whenever I think about Christ’s caution about money and things, I am reminded about the Buddhist perspective of “impermanence”. For Buddhists, part of striving for “Nirvana,” also known as “Enlightenment,” a person must fully embrace the idea that nothing in life is permanent. In other words, there is not a thing that will last forever. But Buddhist take this idea one step further. It isn’t just that nothing is permanent, it is that for any object or person, one’s status will never be permanent. Life and everything within it is always changing. So when an object is broken, or simply wears out, now it is completing or fulfilling its mission. The thing is returning to, or starting to return to, its original state of being from the earth.
For example, we had our favorite champagne flutes that we received as wedding gifts. One day, one slipped from my fingers. As the glass crashed, it broke into multiple pieces and shards went everywhere. For a moment, I was angry at my own carelessness. Darn, that was worth something, I thought. Then I slowed myself down and said (to the glass), something like, “Awe good, you are completing your mission. You were enjoyed! And now you are returning to the earth from which you came.” I tossed it in the trash.
No, I don’t think that my personification of the glass means anything to the glass or to me, but it was a reminder that nothing is permanent and everything is of little consequence to me. The stray things in my basement and den are also of little importance to my needs and certainly not a part of my own salvation.
Instead it is the relationships that hold meaning. The mementos remind me of my parents and of days gone by. I want to do right by these things, in honor and love of my family. Beyond the relationships that these things represent, the things themselves need not hold my heart.
Most importantly, even for any object that may actually hold some financial gain, don’t get caught in the trap that says that those have ever been important! Christ’s message in Matthew 6:24 is meant to remind us that our relationship to him is really all that matters. Our relationship to God is all that lasts. Our salvation is about our relationship to Jesus above all else. Compared to our service of Our Lord and Savior, our things just don’t matter. So serve Jesus Christ and celebrate your relationship to Him above all.
by Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
What earthy things or obsessions challenge your heavenly relationship to Christ?
Prayer: Jesus My Savior, Remind me today that my things are not permanent but your love lasts forever. Let me serve and worship you above all else. Amen.