Are there things among us that could stand to be upgraded? Is the car looking a little shabby? How’s the furniture holding up? Could the wardrobe use some new additions? Is the computer running like it used to? What about coffeepot? Need a new power washer? Is the bathroom looking like it came from the 70s?
Ahhh, wouldn’t it be nice if all the items our hearts desired just fell at the doorstep? If we could ask God for any item to land on our porches today, what would we choose? A computer? A backscratcher? A dog (that actually listens)? A car? A hippopotamus? What would we ask for?
In a faraway land, a young ruler governed a tiny and wealthy kingdom called Estogia. His throne was cast in bronze and shaped like an eagle. His robe was made from a rare mink that only lived in the mountains of the land. Whatever he desired he was able to receive simply by raising his royal scepter. In addition to having a lavish palace and unceasing smile, he possessed a generous heart; he gave money and items to whoever needed them desperately within the Kingdom. Too, whatever would be removed from his residence due to replacement by an enhanced item would be given away to a fortunate citizen who was drawn at random. One day, the ruler was attempting to give away his royal clock that was made of rubies in order to make room for one that was made of emeralds. Though, the person that was picked to receive the clock of rubies refused to take it. This had never happened. The ruler was perturbed that someone wouldn’t wish to accept such an exquisite and royal gift; he decided to summon the “fool” (as he called the man) to his courts. A plain man meandered up to the ruler’s royal throne and took a knee in honor of the ruler. “You summoned me?” said the plain man. With a cool and prideful voice, the ruler replied, “Yes! Why is it you have rejected my precious and wonderful gift?” The plain man paused for a moment…Then, the plain man said, “While your gift is stunning and impressive, your majesty, I held it next to my simple clock made of cedar and realized that it told time no better.”
Since the dawn of creation, humans have been making new and better things. If anything, today we are innovating at the fastest rate we ever have. A TV with a higher definition rating is going to come out. A cell phone with more features is going to come out. A more innovative car is going to come out. A better “whatchamacallit” is going to come out.
American culture has trained us to jump on the train to “Bettertown.” “All aboard to a land that never ceases to improve!” says the conductor. It has made us experts in asking and answering the question of, “What do I want?”
Perhaps you all are thinking, “Oh no, here’s another preacher telling me to sell all of my possessions for the sake of the Gospel.” Not quite. Though, I am suggesting that we might need to have a new perspective in looking at what we have.
It is not a sin to possess nice things. Though, we need to be aware that the sin of lust is not limited to sexual desire alone. We can lust after things as well. We say things like, “If I only had this, my life would be better…I want it so bad!” Satisfaction is a hard discipline to harness in our context—especially when we are exposed to an overwhelming amount of ads that scream, “LOOK AT ME!” every day.
If all our possessions were taken away from us but we were left with all the food and clothing we would ever need, would we be satisfied (1 Tim. 6:7-8)? As counterintuitive as it may sound, if we are never satisfied with what we have, it may reveal that we are in love with our possessions (Eccl. 5:10). The Lord is the most valuable “possession” that we could ever gain (Heb. 13:5). He never needs to be replaced. He never goes out of style. He is always good enough. Do we desire Him more than the next item we’d like to purchase? Do we desire Him more than anything?
Jared M. Webb, Assistant Pastor