“... God gives wealth, possessions, and honor, so that they lack nothing of all that they desire, yet God does not enable them to enjoy these things, but a stranger enjoys them. This is vanity: it is a grievous ill.”
~Ecclesiastes 6:2 (NRSV).
To a rich man (or woman) this situation must be a grave ill, but to the poor it is justice. God owns everything. When we die we bequeath all our worldly possessions to our family, or those we entrust them to, but eventually any wealth is spread indivisibly. And this is not countering for divorce, bankruptcy etc which tend to work the very same way.
One of the best lessons to learn in life is that if you can touch anything and it doesn’t breathe, or doesn’t have a soul, it’s worthless in eternity.
And the truth is we’re living eternally, now. Planet earth is base camp, that’s all.
Bridging Covetousness in the Material World
Our first problem is overcome as soon as we see the folly and deception at play in acquiring and possessing material possessions. We might as well enjoy others’ acquisition and possession of these things—then we’d not have to pay for them or worry about how well we’ll use (or not use) them.
Owning many things adds to our burden and complicates life. It runs against the grain of the spiritual life. Giving away $50 to a needy person makes us feel great, however. Money cannot buy this kind of joy.
This kind of joy is supremely powerful over the clamour for greed. Give something away, even against our ‘better’ judgment, and see what God does with that. But just don’t give the item away... truly give the whole thing away, including any notions of prior ownership, for the devil holds us to ransom over them in a flash.
It is Better to Have Very Little
Notwithstanding serious and genuine poverty, which is a recipe for hopelessness not one better we can find, it is better by far to have very little, so long as we’re not concerned for a lack of security.
It is actually a wise place to find ourselves—at peace with our world just the way it is, without want or need of anything.
If we’re prepared to kiss all our belongings goodbye now—without discussing those with genuine spiritual value like family photographs and knickknacks—then we will know a better relationship with God, almost certainly.
With this sort of void in place we create room for God to come in and give us perhaps what we’ve always wanted but somehow could never quite define or know our way there.
Suddenly it has materialised—this spiritual peace we’ve always yearned for.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.