Eternity Matters | The parable of too much stuff

Feeling poor? Chances are you probably have more than $5 grand sitting around and you don’t even know it. And where you might ask, is this hidden wealth sitting? Well, all around you apparently. A recent news story has highlighted the fact that all of us have stuff around our homes that we don’t need and could probably sell for cold hard cash.

According to Gumtree’s Second Hand Economy Report, “…more than 90 per cent Australians have at least 25 unwanted items, worth about $5400 per household.” In fact, nationwide, the stuff (unwanted items we own) that we all have in this country (that we could theoretically sell if we wanted to) is collectively worth $43.5 billion. That’s more than the GDP of Libya or Ghana or Yemen or Jordan or one of the other 116 countries in the world today (according to United Nations statistics from 2015). In other words most of us have a lot of stuff. The Good Book has a reminder that a great deal of stuff doth not maketh a great man (or woman). In Luke 12:16-21, some farmer makes a motza. “I've got so much I’ll have to tear down my old barns and build bigger ones,” he thinks. Then I’ll have enough to kick back and retire to Lighthouse Beach at Port Macquarie and enjoy a Singapore Sling after dinner for ever and ever, amen. According to the story, God won’t have a bar of it.

What the story doesn’t include (but the people back then would have realised) is that most of the people living around that rich farmer (and very likely most of the people hearing that story) would have been peasant farmers who would have worked the land for a percentage of the crops. The rich farmer’s actions would have been perceived as obscenely ostentatious. It would have been a far better choice to help out the people around him, many of whom would have been in dire poverty. In the words of Jesus, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” (Luke 12:15 NIV)