Bedraggled and the picture of total misery, the middle aged lady glanced at the microphone thrust into her face by the reporter. News helicopters whirled overhead. Her family encircled her, many members crying. Neighbors also were weeping. Their homes also had been reduced to rubble. The storms and the flood that followed had destroyed a lifetime of work.
The woman looked determined as she spoke. “I told my family, “This is stuff! Just stuff! We’ll make it!”
This was a rare and refreshing view in a world that is stuff oriented. Next to eating and pleasure, one of the most important pastimes is the trip to the local Stuff Supercenter to try to decide what we are going to need next. Nor is it a problem that plagues only our time and place.
One of the simplest and easiest to be understood teachings of Christ about how to successfully live the Christian life is found in Matthew 6:33 when he said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” Things and stuff are not the most important elements of earthly existence. But it is hard to keep that in mind. I imagine this is especially true if a thirty-second tornado has just whisked all your life’s accumulation of stuff into oblivion.
The message about seeking the kingdom is found also in Luke 12:31. It is this context that Christ gave us the account of the rich man who had done so well he was ready to retire. He had enough stuff to last for many years. The Lord continued. “But God said, Thou fool, this night thy soul is required of thee: then whose shall those things be?”
The overall sin our Lord was attacking was covetousness. “Take heed and beware of covetousness; for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he owns.” Luke 12:15
We fail to give as we have been prospered because of our love for stuff. We fail to share with the needy because of our love for stuff. We sometimes fail to have time to worship regularly, because we want more stuff. People in foreign lands die without the gospel, because we love our stuff. Truly, a man’s life, and a woman’s too, is more than stuff.
But it’s nice to be able to learn the lesson without the help of a tornado!