"The rich man had very many flocks and herds."
II Samuel 12: 2
EXPLORATION "The Accumulation of Possessions"
"There is not a vice which more effectually contracts and deadens the feelings, which more completely makes a man's affections center in himself and excludes all others from partaking in them, than the desire of accumulating possessions."
How do I feel about the "things" I possess?
Do these "things" control my life?
Do my possessions bring me satisfaction?
"All the possessions of mortals are mortal."
INSPIRATION "You actually possess everything you can see when you close your eyes."
This past week, I was in Phoenix because my niece, Aimee. and her two children. came to spend a few days. I could never have imagined the weather that awaited my arrival. As we headed down the freeway, I received a call on my cell phone, which I might add is unusual. It was someone in my office warning Jim and me that we were driving directly into a violent storm, which by the end of the day had left a huge path of damage in its wake. My youngest niece, Bethanie's car was pummeled by golf ball size hail that broke out her car windows and car lights. Fortunately, she wasn't on the road but in an office building when the most violent part of the storm struck. So many people had so many "things," that within a few seconds, were destroyed.
Maybe this is why, it is frequently at times of severe disaster or critical illness when we are led to take stock of our lives and consider what makes our lives valuable.
Recently, after a tornado hit their town, a family who had lost every material possession, smilingly said when interviewed by a TV reporter, "Thank God, we have each other." I could relate to what they said for after our car accident, the only thing that mattered to Jim and me was that the other one was alive. It didn't bother us that our only vehicle was totally destroyed. We weren't worried that the clothes we were wearing had to be cut off our bodies and thrown in the garbage. We just wanted to know that the person we loved was all right.
As we look at our text today, II Samuel 12: 2, we find that the rich man in the city is described as someone who had "very many flocks and herds." I find it important to note that this story doesn't single out any particular lamb or goat. Instead, the possessions of this rich man were of such a quantity they were lumped together and described as groups - herds and flocks. And this is exactly what happens when there is so much abundance in one life that nothing particularly stands out as special anymore.
Thomas Jefferson penned this thought, "material abundance without character is the surest way to destruction." This is a thought-provoking concept, for the rich man who had the herds and flocks, was sadly a person whom we will find may have had all the "things" he wanted but he lacked a heavenly character which was crucial to handling his possessions wisely.
In Luke 18: 18-25, the Bible tells us about a young man who came to Jesus desiring to "inherit" eternal life. After assuring Jesus that he had "done" all the right things, the young man was shocked when Jesus told him to go "sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me" (Luke 18: 22).
One of the saddest passages in Scripture are the words found in Luke 18: 23, which follow the text above, "and when he heard this, he (the young man) was very sorrowful: for he was very rich." Whether it was herds or flocks, houses or lands, the "things" that this individual possessed held him back from following his heavenly purpose.
May nothing you and I possess ever do the same and hold us back from God's call when it comes and He says, "Follow Me."
"It is a very high point of Christian wisdom and prudence always to look upon the good things and the great things of this world as a man will certainly look upon them when he comes to die."
AFFIRMATION "Don't hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or - worse! - stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it's safe from moth and rust and burglars. It's obvious, isn't it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being."
Matthew 6: 19-21
The Message Bible
Currency of Living
"I am not sure where I am with money.
When I've had very little of it,
I've been full of theories about sharing;
but when I've had more than enough,
the money changer in my temple
tends to label the surplus "my" and "mine".
I can't imagine the world without money
and yet it's difficult to use it wisely.
Jesus said that where our treasure is,
that's where our hearts are also.
I think I know what he meant,
but it still doesn't prevent me
from getting my values mixed up.
Where is my treasure?
Where is my heart?
I think it helps when I remember
just whose earth this really is.
It's a truth that everything I have,
including myself, is a gift from God.
Nothing can be earned, nothing owned,
nothing labeled with my name.
When I remember that,
my heart shifts focus.
I lose sight of the "my" and "mine"
of material possessions
and I reach out to worship
not the gifts but the Giver."
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $8.00. Or by calling Transformation Garden at 1-888-397-4348.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.