We are back with another challenging and thought provoking post on the issue of materialism from Rebeka Fry and her 'Redefining Femininity' blog.
The Unseen Chains
"Then He spoke a parable to them, saying:
'The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully.
And he thought within himself, saying,
"What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?"
So he said, "I will do this:
I will pull down my barns and build greater,
and there I will store all my crops and my goods.
And I will say to my soul,
'Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years;
take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.'"
But God said to him,
"Fool! This night your soul will be required of you;
then whose will those things be which you have provided?"
So is he who lays up treasure for himself,
and is not rich toward God.'"
~ Luke 12:16-21 ~
This simple tale is comprised of two short parts and two characters, the first being the rich man. Apparently, his fields produced a bumper crop and he needs to consider storage upgrades. Needing a professional opinion, he calls upon the most trusted advisor he knows of – himself. Building bigger barns is the most logical solution and, inspired by his own genius, he comforts his soul and prepares himself for a long retirement.
Enter the Divine Stock Broker. The rich man’s number has come up and it’s time for the great accounting of his investments in heaven, but that only leads to a startling surprise. In the one audit that eternally matters, this man’s portfolio is bare! Standing on the brink of a damnable eternity, he falls bankrupt with nothing to show but debts he cannot pay.
Look around you. No, I’m serious, look around the room you’re in. How much of it will matter in heaven? Everything on this earth is confined to this earth. And in the end, it is all left behind.
The ancient Egyptians had a certain burial tradition they practiced when someone of honor died. They would fill that person’s tomb with treasures they would “need” in the afterlife. For instance, if a captain of an army died, they might fill his grave with a chariot or weapons of war. In November of 1922, the world-famed archeologist Howard Carter made history by unearthing the tomb of the renowned pharaoh King Tut (or “Tutankhamen” for the historically adept). What made this discovery even more newsworthy was the fact that most of the treasures were still in it. Dismantled treasures, chariots, even thrones – all the things a king would need to satisfy him in the afterlife were there. But King Tut was a fool. Thinking he would keep all his earthly possessions, they (the tomb preparer people) loaded his tomb up with earthly trinkets. But while he may have left the building, his treasures stayed behind.
Like these two men, we can become fools ourselves. Powerful lies can begin to shape our world and, like an unholy blacksmith, they can become as forged chains around our souls and stake our life to this passing world. This story Jesus told about the foolish rich man was meant to free our eyes to see these chains, and to look to Him as the ultimate source of provision. These next four posts will address some of the common lies that come with in the package of materialism.
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