Monday, March 23, 2015

The Proper Use of "Stuff"

By Allen White

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. Matthew 6:19-20

I like stuff. I can stuff myself with stuff. When I think that I have all of the best stuff, the best stuff gets even better. Then, there’s new stuff – new inventions. New innovations. I read a lot of books, but now there’s added excitement to a new book – a new book reader. But, it’s also an Android tablet.

Now, I can check email on my laptop, my book reader, my cell phone and my television. Isn’t stuff great? The problem is that stuff doesn’t satisfy.

Dissatisfaction is great for marketers, but it’s not so great if you want to be satisfied. New stuff can be a lot of fun, but instead of satisfying us, it causes to want more. It’s like after a big Chinese meal. You feel stuffed and bloated – a little swollen from the MSG. Someone on twitter called this a “Chang-over.” Then, an hour later, guess what? You’re hungry again.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have a great passion for Dim Sum. I’m getting hungry just thinking of cha siu bao.

If stuff was meant to satisfy us, then we would be satisfied. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy my stuff just as much as the next guy. But, there will be no iPads or book readers or sports cars in Heaven. But, there must be cha siu bao there. It’s heavenly.

Stuff breaks. Stuff rusts. Stuff gets stolen. Stuff must be maintained. It’s all susceptible to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. So, we insure our stuff. We have an extended warranty. We buy the service plan. We hire specialists to keep our stuff in tune.

When we get tired of our stuff, there’s always eBay or Craig’s List or a garage sale, where we can earn a dime on the dollar, if we’re lucky.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying to get rid of all of your stuff and join the priesthood or something. Enjoy your stuff. Just don’t expect it to satisfy you. Use stuff and love people. But, don’t love stuff and use people. People are eternal. Stuff is going to burn.

Maybe instead of investing ourselves in another reality show, we invest ourselves in a real person. We don’t even have to find one. We already have real people around us: our spouses, our kids, our friends, our neighbors. How can we use our stuff to influence them for good? How can we make a satisfying, eternal investment in their lives?

Don’t just watch your kids play. Get down on the floor. There is so much more to life that just taking up space and oxygen. You and I were put here for a purpose. Our purpose has more to do with influencing than accumulating.

What thing in this world do you think will make you happy? Why do you assume that your satisfaction won’t come from God? While we would never actually say that, we often live that. Why not ask God to help you find satisfaction in your life?

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