Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Burden of Physical things

I believe it was Nelson Mandela who said, “We are not physical beings seeking a spiritual experience but rather spiritual beings having a physical experience. “ I feel that one of the greatest burdens I bear is ownership of physical items because they burden my soul and tie me to this earth and prevent me from achieving my spiritual goals.

We often become so involved in obtaining and possessing physical things that we do not realize what they are doing to our spirit. Many desire these “things” and put their acquisition ahead of those things that matter most. There is a certain excitement in getting a new home, car, savings account, retirement fund, nice clothes, etc. However, as desirable and enjoyable as they are to acquire and possess, they cannot bring true happiness because they do nothing to satisfy our spirit. Many confuse their spiritual yearnings and seek to satisfy it through materialism. However, the acquisition of material things will never satisfy the soul.

Anything physically new will be old in a very short time. Look at the rusty old truck next time as you drive down the road. One time it was shining and new and beautiful. It is a reminder to me that nothing physical lasts forever. Besides, nothing we own here on earth is really ours. We leave it all behind when we die anyway.

Was this the problem that the young rich man had when Jesus complemented him on his faithfulness and obedience to the commandments but then said that he lacked one thing? Was he so burdened with material things that although pious in every outward way his soul was cankered? What was the solution that Jesus offered? Sell all that he had, give it to the poor and come follow Him. What was the result? The young rich man couldn’t do it. Why not? Is it because he had too many possessions?

Is it possible that the greatest test we face in this life is to be wealthy? Is it really harder for a camel to enter the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God?