Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏹️

Treasures on Earth, pastel chalk, by Tobias Mayer, 2022

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Matthew 6:19-21

We live in a consumer society, of that there is no doubt. The multi-billion pound marketing and advertising industry hammers us with messages about our inadequacies, that will be resolved if we buy the next new electronic gadget/toy/beauty product/food/clothing or take the latest developed happiness drug. The onslaught is merciless, penetrating even children as young as two years old. We spend a lifetime laying up treasures upon earth only to find they break, disintegrate and expire, requiring fresh purchases to keep up with the latest trends. Consumerism is a disease, and it affects almost everyone to one extent or another.

While we are so focused on accumulation of goods and property, going into debt to pay for all the things we're told we need but find we really don't want, we neglect our spiritual needs. So focused have we become on ownership of stuff that we have forgotten the simple joy of nothing. Families go out to dinner and instead of talking and laughing together, each member is on a phone or ipad, disengaged with the world. We ride trains and instead of looking out of the window at the beautiful scenery going by we are reading angry messages on Facebook and Twitter. Our attics and cellars are full of unwanted objects, our land fills up with junk and off we go to buy more.

It's almost as if we seek God in our objects. Feeling empty and hungry we fill up on stuff, but the hunger never goes away, and we are caught in a consumer nightmare, never satisfied. Our hearts and souls become crushed under the weight of our belongings, we are enslaved and we cannot breathe. Having so much we become afraid of losing it all, of people stealing from us, so we spend more money to buy things that make our other things safe, locks, chains, cameras, gates, alarm systems, and the more we attempt to keep people out the more we become trapped in. It's a never-ending downward spiral of fear and desperation, taking us further and further away from paradise.

Jesus saw this two thousand years ago. He warned us, but we did not listen. And now we are trapped. It's not too late though. We can start to change today. Take one possession and give it away, then find another and give it away...1 Soon, a great sense of freedom will overcome you as you discover a completely new kind of treasure. It's almost a guarantee.

1 I am reminded of the children's book, The Rainbow Fish