In the first reading Paul wrote to Timothy, “For we brought nothing into the world, just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it.” Paul says we came with nothing, and we leave with nothing. You can’t take it with you. Those who amass only wealth, in the end have nothing to show for their lives. A lot of people lost everything recently. Many people lost their lives as well. But those who lost only their homes and jobs and all their possessions, but have their lives and their families, must feel rich indeed. Richness and poverty are relative terms.
I have a relative who has lots of money, but she won’t do anything with it. She won’t buy stuff; she won’t even run the furnace or air conditioner at comfortable levels. She buys the cheapest food she can at the store; she won’t buy herself new clothes. I don’t know what she’s saving it for. She can’t take it with her. She has money for money’s sake. She loves the money, but love of money is the root of all evils.
I just bought a house, so I’m pretty cognizant of finances these days. I’m aware of what I can do with what money I have. And I’m not going to have much extra spending money for a while – but I’ll have the security of my beautiful home on the edge of the forest. In moving from my apartment, I find I’ve amassed way too much. I’ve already made several trips to the Goodwill, and I have several more to go. I don’t think I have all this stuff out because I want to be rich (and in my present situation, there’s no danger of that!) but stuff just piles up and gets out of hand. I’m trying to clear out a lot of stuff, and make sure a lot of it gets to people who really need it. I’ve given clothes and towels to the relief efforts for the gulf coast. I donated a nice toaster to the homeless shelter. Paul says if we have food and clothing, we shall be content with that. Some people don’t even have that.
Jesus and his disciples journeyed from town to town taking next to nothing with them. People helped them and provided for them. People fed them and gave them places to stay. We’re in a situation now when those who have money and stuff and room to share should be sharing it with those who have nothing left but their lives.
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