It's often said that the way to tell whether someone loves you is to see whether they'll give you their last Rolo.
Whether it's our last Rolo or our favourite jumper, sometimes we get a bit clingy about the stuff we have.
When the stuff we own starts to own us, it's time to re-evaluate the situation.
And the best solution to hoarding? Giving it away.
[Jesus] said to them, ‘… life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.’
(Luke 12:15 NIV)
I’ll always remember my first trip to India: there were people making idols out of wood and stone along the roadside; shocked I asked my colleague Sekhar, ‘Why can’t people see that these idols are just objects, not gods?’ I don’t recall his answer, but I do recall the corresponding question he asked when he came to the UK: ‘People here have so much stuff; why can’t they see that it’s not making them happy?’
Ouch. I had nothing to say. His remark completely cut through my cultural blindness. I thought worshipping objects in India was crazy, but we were doing the same thing right here!
I’ve had the pleasure of encountering people in the UK who seem to live free from this blindness, and their generosity has felt like a cool glass of water in a desert. For example, when my wife and I were working in Zimbabwe and returned to the UK temporarily, we needed a car for a couple of weeks, but were short of cash. Someone we barely knew lent us her car (and travelled by public transport instead) with hardly a second thought. I couldn’t believe it.
When Jesus encounters a man who loves his possessions (in Mark 10), he tells him, ‘One thing you lack. Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor…’ He doesn’t say this to everyone he meets, but he’s very clear about the prescription for this young man. My belief is that this was the specific remedy for the materialism that afflicted him. At times I’ve really struggled with letting go of some of my stuff in the same way, but I know that the tension I feel in these situations is a firm reminder of how important it is for me to let go and offer someone that last Rolo.
Today's blog was written by Rich Gower from Tearfund.
Find out more about him and support their chosen charity here.
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