With the start of a new year, many of us try to organize our lives. We put away the new Christmas gadgets, give away the old stuff we no longer want. I heard this morning that the average house in the 2000s was 38% larger than in the 1970s, while family sizes have decreased (though not everyone’s :-). The room with the most square footage increase…the closet. In other words, we have accumulated a lot more stuff than previous generations and we often hold onto that stuff hoping that it may satisfy a longing we think we have.
For most of us in America, we live in a post-need culture. The basic needs of clothing, shelter and food are fairly accessible, therefore we spend our money on enhanced levels of food, clothing, and shelter. Rather than beans and rice-the stable of most human diets-we hunger for T-bones; rather than functional clothes, we desire the latest fashions. And rather than adequate shelter, we pursue bigger homes.
This mindset can often put us on a collision course with the Christian faith, because it’s basic beliefs about hope, grace and mercy are all based upon our inadequacy and our need for a loving God.
The author of Ecclessiastes claims to have amassed tremendous wealth, knowledge and power, yet this is spiritual reflection:
Ecclesiastes 5:10-14 “10 Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless. 11 As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owner except to feast his eyes on them? 12 The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether he eats little or much, but the abundance of a rich man permits him no sleep. 13 I have seen a grievous evil under the sun: wealth hoarded to the harm of its owner, 14 or wealth lost through some misfortune, so that when he has a son there is nothing left for him.”