Holding on to Things

by Jan Silvious

How important are "things" to you? And what are you working for? More "things"?

God has blessed us abundantly here in America. But some people never seem to have enough and think they should keep accumulating more and more. Isn't that really why some of us go to work? To subsidize a greedy spirit? Of course, some things are necessities: food, clothing, a roof over our heads. But what about the things we put out of reach of small hands? What about the things we store in vaults? What about the things that own us instead of our owning them?

There's a warning in Scripture that addresses the person who is owned by things: "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" (Matt. 19:24).

"But I'm not rich," you may argue. Well, maybe not by your standards. But if you're like me, you have more than you need, and if you are like me, you want to have more than you need. In fact, you work to keep a little extra padding, then hang on tight if anyone suggests that you let go of a little. This reminds me of the story of some natives who wanted to catch monkeys in the jungle. Knowing the monkey's fondness for sweet beans, the natives put some beans in jars and set them out where the little creatures would find them. Before long, the monkeys, catching a whiff of the beans, put their paws in the narrow necks of the jars, made a fist around the beans, and refused to let go. Their obstinacy made them easy prey for the hunters. They became captives because of what they had; the beans had the monkeys instead of the monkeys having the beans.

Speaking at a college commencement, Rudyard Kipling told the students, "Someday you will meet a man who cares for none of these things. Then you will know how poor you are." That man was born nearly two thousand years ago. Jesus Christ had nowhere to lay His head, no earthly place to call His home, yet He came to bring eternal life-something no money can buy.

Leona Helmsley, the hotel magnate, was sentenced to four years in jail and fined seven million dollars for tax evasion. The prosecution claimed her crime was greed. At sixty-nine years of age, Mrs. Helmsley had spent an entire lifetime going after things only to find that, in the end, she never owned them at all; they owned her.

What owns you? Are you fretful over your house? Your furniture? Your clothes? Your jewelry?

No one can answer those questions for you. Only you know if you've put your hand into a jar and fallen captive to the things you're holding onto. And only you know if you are willing to let go.

From The 5-Minute Devotional

©Zondervan 1991

2011 Disciple 155x50 2011 AMG 155x50
Disciple Banner Ad