“Where did it all go? …The money, the property, the personal belongings, the things one acquires in one’s life, Mr. Schlichtmann. The things by which one measures one’s life?”
But Luke 12:15 says…
Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.
What does your life consist of? How is it measured? Is it really measured by our money and property and the things we acquire in life? In the movie I saw a while ago, A Civil Action, starting John Travolta, Jan Schlichtmann (John Travolta) and his group of lawyers invested all their money in a civil action case and ended up losing everything. The last scene of the movie came to my mind as I was thinking about the above verse.
Bankruptcy Judge: Mr. Schlichtmann? Mr. Schlichtmann?
Jan Schlichtmann: I’m sorry. Yes.
Bankruptcy Judge: The purpose of these questions is not to embarass or humiliate you but rather to verify the information you’ve declared as your assets.
Jan Schlichtmann: I understand.
Bankruptcy Judge: Because what you’re asking your creditors to believe with this petition is… well, it’s hard to believe.
Jan Schlichtmann: I know.
Bankruptcy Judge: That after 17 years of practicing law all you have to show for it is 14 dollars in a checking account and a portable radio?
Jan Schlichtmann: That’s correct.
Bankruptcy Judge: Where did it all go?
Jan Schlichtmann: The money?
Bankruptcy Judge: The money, the property, the personal belongings, the things one acquires in one’s life, Mr. Schlichtmann. The things by which one measures one’s life. What happened?
We should not be too critical of the judge in this scene, nor of the world, for it is the way of the world to think that material things measure our life. But we Christians should know better! As Jesus said to His disciples (in Luke 12:23), “Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.” Life, real life does not depend on food or clothing or possessions, but in our relationship with Jesus and on the spiritual things God wants to give us of His kingdom. In a few verses down (in Luke 12:29-31) Jesus said to His disciples,
And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
These are some thoughts that I think will be helpful for us during this Christmas season, as materialism is so prevalent and we are bombarded with pressure to buy things.