“Because they had nothing, they feared in no way to lose anything.” – Thomas of Celano
Thomas was speaking of St. Francis and the early Franciscan monks who began following him. Their vow of poverty made many things much easier for them in its abject difficulty.
By contrast we, today, are surrounded by stuff. And I am the chief of all sinners. I cannot have one of anything, I typically need at least two. I have rarely had only a single bike, I have kept two or more in my garage 99% of the time.
As such, I have accumulated a massive amount of stuff surrounding the bikes. Gear, parts and what-not I have a shed full that I now need to sell off.
We accumulate stuff in this life and what we must ask is what value does it all really bring to us or to the kingdom. Having a few bikes, based upon my ministry, may not be a bad thing. However, I doubt that it is necessary. It is a convenience I have afforded myself out of my abundance.
Our abundance is what typically drives our purchase decisions. As I have written before, we must be cognizant of where we spend our Time, our Talents and our Treasure.
I have always had a affinity for St. Francis because the lessons of his life can be directly applied to our own. However, he would say that the lessons from his life are taken directly from scripture. Everything he did, he did through the filter of scripture and Christ.
He would be considered an absolute lune by today's standards of Christian ministry.
But he was “a fool for God” because he came from a background of great wealth and saw the danger in how it could rule ones life.
We live in a very different time where consumerism is at an all time high. I have written many times about our throw away culture and how it frustrates me. I watched my father buy quality products and keep them running for many, many years. Marketing and consumerism has negated this, making quality products obsolete by providing cheap products that we just buy and replace when something break.
I think about technology and see it has gone this way ever so more so. Now, our phones get obsolete within no time at all. The companies who make them keep making the software ever more difficult for the older equipment to run and forcing us to upgrade.
We have been lulled into a sense of “this is just the way it is” and as such buy and buy and buy to keep up.
I wonder what Jesus thinks of our stuff.
I wonder at how he views how it gets in our way of getting to him.
I wonder at how he views the clutter in my shed in light of the many things I could have done with the funds expended.
It humbles me.