Possessions, Priorities, Proportion

This Sunday I will be preaching on priorities, based on the story of the “rich young ruler.”  He seeks Jesus out to find what else he could be doing in his quest for “eternal life,”beyond the commandments he has already been living out.  Jesus really throws him a curve:  sell all you have and give it to the poor and come follow me.  Oops!  No further conversation is recorded but one might imagine his protesting “No, I was looking for something practical, something a little less stringent.  I mean I have a lot of possessions.  Surely you don’t mean ALL of my riches.”  Perhaps Jesus would have regarded him with compassion but said nothing in reply, leaving the young man to contemplate his life and his willingness to enlarge his understanding beyond “living by the rules.”

              Having just gone through the experience of divesting ourselves of our home and land, I am aware of an aspect of this that the young ruler couldn’t seem to grasp: the great relief of letting go.  We are renting and down to one vehicle.  We look at property to buy.  We consider a second vehicle.  But I recognize, even as we do so, a sense of hesitation.  We seem more and more content to live in our current circumstances.  Given that we have moved to snow country, we likely will purchase a four -wheel drive vehicle soon.  But this feels like a purchase of necessity and not of desire.   As I contemplate how we use our resources, I hope to consider future spending more thoughtfully.  I am reminded of Richard Foster’s guidelines for simplicity:

  1. Buy things for their usefulness rather than their status
  2. Reject anything that is producing an addiction in you
  3. Develop a habit of giving things away
  4. Refuse to be propagandized by the custodians of modern gadgetry
  5. Learn to enjoy things without owning them
  6. Develop a deeper appreciation for the creation
  7. Look with a healthy skepticism at all “buy now, pay later” schemes
  8. Obey Jesus’ instructions about plain, honest speech
  9. Reject anything that breeds the oppression of others
  10. Shun anything that distracts you from seeking first the kingdom of God

May we be bearers of hope, the “wait staff” of Hope’s Café for each other and all those we encounter.  Shalom, Kate

Hope’s Café Bonus:  Check out this site with article “7 ways to unstuff” https://simplelivingworks.wordpress.com/2014/01/14/yes-magazines-7-ways-to-unstuff/#:~:text=YES!%20Magazine%E2%80%99s%207%20Ways%20to%C2%A0UnStuff