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?


sherrie bebe said...

I think what you've said is very true. Lee told me that at his Elder's Quorom training they were told that one of the biggest problems Bishops here have to deal with is people who can't pay their mortgage. They either buy above what they can pay or they have circumstances like a loss of a job that make it so they are no longer able to make payments. It's a good reminder that even though homes are something the prophet said was okay to go into debt for, we should still use wisdom and not desire more than we can handle. Even more so because of what you have said. It becomes a burden to us in the end and possibly keeps us from progressing spiritually as it did to the pious young man in the story. The possessions we obtain should be with the main purpose to build up the kingdom of God so that if we were asked to sell all and follow, we could do it without thinking twice about it.

coolhandluke said...

In a similar way, though we will take our knowledge with us, we need to be careful that we are obtaining knowledge that will serve us throughout the eternities. I often wonder if my field of expertise will ever be of any use in the eternities. Will there be web pages or the internet? Will there even be computers? I guess I just need to make sure (through the guidance of the spirit) that what I do learn will in some way help me through eternity. Though knowledge isn't physical it can be worldly, which would put it in the same category as things that we cannot take with us (or will serve no purpose in the hereafter.) Though this knowledge can be good for the present, there are always better things you can seek with which to fill your mind.

Coach Ann said...

These are excellent thoughts. We do need to do what we have to to survive and there is nothing wrong with being comfortable. When the desire to obtain becomes stronger than the desire to give --that is when the problems start. Someone had a poll that asked if there were a fire or other emergency, what would you grab? Our answers reveal what is most important to us.

Aimee and David said...

Is this a way of saying you want to sell the house?

Very good insight. It's so easy to spend, but do we really need it all this stuff? probably not. In the words of Thoreau, "simplify, simplify, simplify"

I agree that we should seek the spiritual things. They're free. probably the best bargain.