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Look At All This Stuff!

Americans truly are a unique breed. Though we come from many “tribes, tongues, and peoples”, it does not take long for a new citizen to adapt to our ways of life.  They may continue the national customs in diet, child rearing, family structure, but most come to love the ability to buy “stuff”.  Like the rest of us, new comers want cars, nice homes, great clothes, good food, “privileges” that money can provide, and some things bought on impulse “just because”.

Most often, the habitual buying of things we did not really need become the clutter that fills our closets, garages, and attics. Somehow, the more we have, the better we seem to feel about our security, status, and satisfaction.  Every weekend, we have garage sales, Craigslist entries, and “free for the taking” of something on the curbside. We only do that so that we can rush to the place that we love to spend money to buy more of what we did not need and just sold for pennies on the dollar.  We have become addicted to materialism and yet, do not seem to desire a cure.

This was a good prayer offered up by a lady who had gone through the death of a good friend.  It is perfect to remind us that stuff never gives us long term satisfaction.  Maybe you know someone like the lady described in this prayer below….

Help me not to put too much stock in possessions, Lord. I want things, sure. But life seems to be a continual round of wanting things — from the first toys we fight over as children to our thrilled unwrapping of wedding presents to those we buy in our old age. Our concern is not primarily love and friends and pride in what we can do, but things. 

Sometimes I’m ashamed of how much I want mere possessions — things for my husband and the house and the children. Yes, and things for myself, too. And this hunger is enhanced every time I turn on the television or walk through a shopping mall. My senses are tormented by the dazzling world of things.

Lord, cool these fires of wanting. Help me to realize how futile is this passion for possessions. Because — and this is what strips my values to the bone — one of my best friends died today in the very midst of her possessions. She was in the beautiful home she and her husband worked so hard to achieve, the home that was finally furnished the way she wanted it with the best of everything. She was surrounded by the Oriental rugs she was so proud of, the formal French sofas, the painting, the china and glass, the handsome silver service…She had been snatched away while silently, almost cruelly, THEY remain.

Lord, I grieve for my friend. My heart hurts that she had so little time to enjoy the things that she had earned and that meant so much to her. But let me learn something from this loss; that possessions are meant to enhance life, not to become the main focus of living. Help me remember that we come into the world with nothing and we leave with nothing.   (Marjorie Holmes).

Isaac Watts stated it well in his hymn, WHEN I SURVEY THE WONDROUS CROSS –

When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to His blood.