Addicted to Stuff
Matthew 6:19-21 Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy… but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys… For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
I cannot blame my occupation for my mistakes in life but I remember knowing that working nights at my previous job was killing me. I could not however, imagine giving up the paycheck. I had stuff to pay for and I certainly was not willing to give up that stuff. My heart and my treasure lay in the temporal. Moth and rust eventually caught up with me and I paid the price for my addiction. My addiction however, was not initially to drugs, but to stuff. My pursuit of things became destructive, leading to other addictions, when I chose to pursue the temporal over the eternal.
If I am honest, I still do this. I often wonder what an auditor would come up with after sifting through the expenditures of my life. Would he or she find that my heart lies in the things of earth or in the eternal? Am I draining my life to buy stuff for my own entertainment or do I put more time and effort into denying self, loving God, and loving my neighbor?
Jesus said the meaning of my life and the purpose of my heart will be revealed by that which I pursue. Where my treasure is, my heart will be also. In 50 or 100 years, I will not care much about the boat I had or the cars I drove. So why do those things seem so important now? It is the nature of my flesh to sacrifice that which I know to be truly important for instant gratification. So, when faced with the choice of stuff now or some future reward, I always want to take the stuff now.
I justify this in different ways. I deserve it. I only live once. I can use this stuff for good. God has blessed me. It’s not wrong to enjoy what He has given me. I need to provide for my family.
It is of course not wrong to enjoy that which God has given me and it is not wrong to provide for my family. When I put the pursuit of stuff ahead of my pursuit of God however, I get it backwards. In my pursuit of stuff first, I try to find my meaning where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.
It is not that God does not want me to enjoy life. He wants me to have a life full of love, joy and pleasure. He just wants me to find those things the way in which I was meant to find them. I always want to take the short cut, choosing instant gratification, for which I inevitably pay the price.
So, daily, I need to be honest about why I am pursuing that which I am pursuing. Am I chasing the temporal or the eternal? Do I put time and effort into my relationship with God? Do I love those around me or is my life being consumed with the pursuit of stuff? If I pursue self, I will receive a fleeting reward. If, however, I pursue the eternal, I will store up treasure that can never be taken from me.