Does Stuff Own Us?
19th Sunday after Pentecost
She thinks about it when she’s putting away clothes and she sees her closets absolutely stuffed. She considers it every time more leftovers have gone bad in her full refrigerator. It runs through her head when a household appliance breaks and she throws it away and then runs out to get a new one.
She’s been thinking about it as her car is getting older – it still runs just fine, but certainly a mini-van would be more comfortable now that she has two children and strollers and car-seats to carry around. What has she been thinking about? She has been thinking about a question she overheard the other day: “Do we own stuff or does our stuff own us?
She never had to think about it much before. The years prior to this she was just barely able to make ends meet. There wasn’t much money coming in, and not a lot of extra “stuff” when she was a student and just starting her career.
But then some bills got paid off, she and her husband received raises, and now they’ve been faced with the nagging thought that how they treat the “wiggle room” they have in their budget says something about what they believe, about what is important to them.
She knows what Jesus says: ” Go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come follow me” (Mark 10:21). The rich man wasn’t able to do it. She knows she can’t either. But she needs to do something. She needs to start somewhere.
She gets out her credit card and a sticky note and a marker. In bold letters she writes, ” Do I own stuff, or does my stuff own me?” She fastens the sticky note to the card and puts it back in her purse.