As Richard and I attempt to sell may of our possessions to dig ourselves out of the materialistic hole we've made, I haven't really been looking at the spiritual aspect of our behavior. Matthew 6:19-23 reads "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."
I can only speak for myself, but things have always brought some kind of pleasure. Much of my self-worth comes from being able to supply things for other people when they may need something, whether it's information from books or the internet, or music they may not have heard (Avett Brothers, anyone?). I love helping people by giving them information they don't know how to find, or aren't willing to look for themselves. Sometimes I worry that I may come across as a know-it-all, or self-righteous (Do it MY way, the RIGHT way...), but my intention is benign. I just want to help people by giving them what they need to do what they want or get where they want, or help them by giving them information they may not even realize exits. This is why I considered becoming a librarian at one point. I just love information.
A lot of the information I have valued over the years had come in the form of entertainment/culture, such as tv, movies and books. I would hear a song, or read a book, or watch a movie that moved me and felt an urge to share it with everyone I know. All I thought was if this song made me feel this good, it must have the same impact on others. It took me a long time to realize (and I'm still trying to realize it) that all people are different. No two people have the exact same interests or tastes. Just because Eddie Vedder's voice sends chills down my spine, doesn't mean it will have the same impact on someone else.
In the past few years I have tried to limit my compulsion to create a library of information in my own home, but my moratoriums on books and DVDs has proven more difficult than I imagined. However, in the past few months Rich and I have taken to becoming serious about our de-possession, if you will, of our life. Lately I've been thinking about how this relates to my spiritual life, and my relationship with Jesus Christ.
In Matthew (16:24-26) it says "Then Jesus said to his followers 'if people want to follow me, they must give up the things they want. They must be willing even to give up their lives to follow me. Those who want to save their lives will give up true life, and those who give up their lives for me will have true life. It is worth nothing for them to have the whole world if they lose their souls. They could never pay enough to buy back their souls.'"
The more I thought about it, the more I realized how every single thing I've bought, item I've cherished, will not be with me in heaven. When I meet my maker, He will not care how many CDs I owned, how many books I read or what kind of car I drove, or how many mix CDs I made for my friends. He will care if I knew Him, the way a father knows a child, the way a husband knows a wife, the way a friend knows a friend. Did I call to Him, did I depend on Him, did I believe in Him? Did I live for Him, and love others in a true relational way, the way He loves me?
I will not have Pearl Jam CDs with me after I die. I won't be able to take my car, or my laptop, or my favorite jeans. None of that will matter in the end. So why should it matter now? Why is giving up a laptop so I can pay off debt so I can give more generously so hard to do?
The more I seek God, the easier it becomes to part with these things I spent so much money on. And although money is just paper, if you let it control you by getting in debt, it will become more a part of your life than it needs to be. It can easily become an idol, the thing you worship more than God, the thing that dictates your every behavior. I'm fighting that tendency. I want the Holy Spirit to dictate my behavior. I want God to move in my soul and help me be the person He intended me to be: a true friend, not a personal librarian.