Thursday, September 25, 2008


The power outage referred to in last week's post-hurricane blog lasted (in the apartment complex where I live) until late Monday evening--then, eighteen hours after electricity was restored, returned in the form of a blown power line fuse. Repairs there would normally take a few hours; but with several thousand hurricane-caused outages still a problem in the area, we're still waiting two days later. Nothing like feeling you're at the bottom of everyone's priority list.

And nothing like a blackout to emphasize how inseparable electricity and priorities can be. A century ago, there were only a few electrical appliances, used mostly by the rich. These days, the average person can hardly check the time, get in touch with a friend, do any work, or get out of bed on a regular schedule without using something that plugs into a wall socket. Most of us are smothering in appliances and gadgets.

And in possessions in general. Two bookcases and a closet worth of my personal property are still stored at the old family home because I can't figure out how to fit it into my current apartment. Anyone who's ever moved to a smaller place--or moved at all--can probably relate. It can take a week just to pack and unpack an average middle-class household's accumulation of "stuff." Much of it quickly becomes clutter and nuisance--yet just try to get the average American to give anything away! "I know I haven't used it in three years--but what if I need it next month?"

Searching for security in the amount of property we own is at least as old as the days of the patriarchs. So is admiration of the rich--and the craving to join them, often to the detriment of our own spiritual and emotional health. Because not only does wealth not bring security, it often seems to decrease it by giving us that many more things to worry about.

The only cure is to concentrate on one thing--pleasing God in all we do. He may not call all of us to give away everything we have (cf. Mt. 19:21). But He does expect us to make Him, not simply our top priority, but our only priority. We can't say, "God, I'll stick with You if [and only if] You grant me these other things."

Unlike us, He can't be fooled into believing that our wants are actually needs.

M is for Miserly: hoard all you can,
Never a penny to share with the needy.
Spend on yourself everything you can spare,
It's only frugal; let none call you greedy.

O is for Owing, which soon comes around
When you use credit to buy things that tempt you.
Spend all you can; charge your cards to the max--
Surely the "pay later" law will exempt you.

R is for Rich, which we all want to be:
Wealth is the god that so many bow down to.
Always be thinking, "What's in it for me?"
Live for the monies that ever astound you.

E is for Evil, which is what it is
To live for "more" and to keep your greed humming.
Those who spend life chasing pleasure and gold
Will wail and weep in the day of God's coming.

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