It occurred to me recently whilst moving house, that I have so so much, despite considering myself a minimalist! Clearing out what no longer served me – giving it away, donating to charity or disposing of it – was a thoroughly therapeutic process. I felt calmer, like I’d made more ‘space’ in my life to concentrate on more important things. I surmised that with great wealth must come great responsibility … and great stress.
Jesus used parables to warn against the perils of man’s ambition concerning wealth – “… it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Luke 18:25).
He reminds us that all worldly wealth is subject to external influence which can lead to its destruction – moths will ravage costly fabrics, metals rust and thieves take anything at any time (Matt 6:19-24). Nowadays, economic crises and illness can lead to even greater loss.
In contrast to these temporal, perishable treasures are those which can be stored up in heaven. They are immune from human influence.
Jesus never said we shouldn’t have material possessions (although he encouraged his followers to sell what they owned and give to the needy). He simply made it clear that worldly riches make it difficult for those who possess them to enter the Kingdom. Can we honestly say we are ready to leave all our worldly goods behind when that time comes? Can we part ourselves from these earthly pleasures or will we look back like Lot’s wife did?
Can I really say then, that through having less material items we can become richer spiritually? I believe I can, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:34)