Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The danger of stuff displacing God (Colossians 3:5)

SCRIPTURE: Colossians 3:5c (TM) – larger reading Colossians 3:5-17
That's a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God.

During World War II, "Eddie" Rickenbacker, American's most famous army aviator in W.W. I, was appointed special consultant to Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson. It was Rickenbacker's task to inspect the various theaters of war.
During one tour in 1942, Rickenbacker and seven companions made a forced landing in the Pacific Ocean. There they experienced 24 terrifying days drifting in a lifeboat until they were rescued by a navy plane. After his recovery from the ordeal, Rickenbacker said: "Let the moment come when nothing is left but life, and you will find that you do not hesitate over the fate of material possessions." Rickenbacker understood that at such a time one is concerned about the fate of something more precious than material goods -- life itself.

There is nothing wrong with stuff… there is nothing wrong with stuff… there is nothing wrong with stuff … you know, no matter how often it is said it still sounds silly and lacks any real conviction. We have a love affair with stuff! And we don’t have to have a lot of stuff, but there are certain things that have gained meaning. We allow it to define our existence.

Such was my library. I loved the feeling of being surrounded by the books. Didn’t have to read the many volumes that made up the library, but there was a sense of security knowing that the volumes were there and could be turned to if needed. But, alas, the day arrived and I needed to cull the volumes to a reasonable number. There were just so much linear feet of shelving once I retired. Parting is such sweet sour. So into the boxes they went, the boxes into the back of my SUV and off to a young minister’s office in North Carolina … and from his home to several other homes.

There is peace in knowing that they continued to have a life beyond my shelves. Oh, the joy of having stuff. But did the books and other stuff in my life define me and replace God’s central role? I might be delusional (no comment from the peanut gallery – please) but I don’t think so. There is nothing presently in my life that replaces God… said he hopefully. Oh, the pictures would be a little hard to part with, even when they simply sit in boxes and haven’t been looked at for a number of years – but I know that they are there. When I am old and gray(er) comfort they shall bring as they help me to go down memory lane.

All the other stuff while it is nice to have around won’t change me one iota nor bend my devotion away from God. God is still a priority and receives more, much more than a tithe of time, talents, gifts and service. It is just a part of my very nature. May it always be so keeping ever before my vision that God meets me at the point of my needs not my wants. Life is more precious than material things… and life being lived in God’s presence even more precious than that!


Keep me focus and help me not to lose my way even when being surround by the stuff of my life.

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