My Material Kingdom or the Soil of Heaven?

Apr 10, 2008Archive

Since my son Aidan has become interested and passionate about providing great drinking water in Africa, people have noticed. Yesterday a new friend from Redeemer Church in Manhattan sent me an amazing link. Interestingly, my friend Caroline, who I also hung with in NYC, knows this organization too. If you’re also wild about providing water for people, check out Charity :: Water here.

Another cool thing I learned from another Mary in New York is that there’s this funny little cartoon and human video about stuff that’s quite compelling. Since I touched about materialism in my postmodernism talk, she sent me the link to The Story of Stuff. Last night, Sophie, Aidan and I watched it. We nodded our heads a lot. And I got sad.

Since when did having a bunch of cheap stuff replace true life? And do we seriously think about the cost of having so much stuff? Not only for our own souls, but for those around the world who pay the price for our economy? The part of the 20-minute video that got me the most was this interesting cycle:

  • We go to work so we can provide for our families (including getting stuff).
  • We come home tired, so we sit in front of the TV.
  • The TV is kind enough to show us that we don’t have enough stuff or that our stuff is simply outdated or uncool and must be replaced.
  • We go back to work to earn more money to get more stuff.

Jesus said these pointed words: “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consists of his possessions” (Luke 12:15).

Later in that same chapter, Jesus says words that pierce my heart: “But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Do not be afraid little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (12:31-34).

Yesterday I was greedy for Knockout Roses. I saw them at Home Depot and just HAD to have them. And though I know it’s not necessarily wrong to buy things, I don’t want to buy at the expense of being able to give. I’m grateful to Randy Alcorn for his humble life, his amazing books, the way he points me to think heavenward.

When I’m standing in heaven at the judgment, I’d love to see a mountain of eternal treasures I’ve stored up. And I hope-hope-hope that the mountain eclipses my worldly wealth. But as you know, living in this society, it’s very hard to say no.

Today I will dream of wells in Africa, water my roses with my tears, and pray I see God’s kingdom under my feet.