The Stuff I Have

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.  Sell your possessions, and give alms.  Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.  For where your treasure is, there you heart will also be” (Luke 12:32-34).

Some years ago my friend Mike received a strange phone call from a tire salesman.  Mike had gone to Doyle’s Tires the week before to buy a tire, and had met this man.  The man didn’t call to sell him tires, however.

He said, “Look, I know this is a shot in the dark and all.  But a couple of us have recently gone together to start a business, and it has become quite lucrative.  This must sound awfully strange to you, but when I saw you in the store last week I could tell you looked like a sharp person and I noticed that you carried yourself well.  So, I was wondering, well, if you’d be interested in pursuing some other avenues of financial stability?”

Mike, upon hearing the man’s question, said, straightforwardly and matter‑of‑factly, “Nope.”

The man said, “Uh, excuse me.”

Mike said, “No, I wouldn’t be interested in pursuing some other avenues of financial success.”

“Did you say, ‘No’?”the man asked, apparently not quite tuned into the tone of the conversation.

“Yes, that’s right, I said ‘No.’”

And the man said, “You mean to tell me you wouldn’t be interested in making more money, securing your future financially?”

“That’s right.  I have absolutely no interest in making more money.”

“Why?”

And Mike said, “Because I’m a Christian.”

“What does that have to do with anything?”

“It has everything to do with everything.  Because as a Christian I think life is about getting rid of the stuff I have, not getting more.  I think it’s about selling what I have and giving it away and ending up with absolutely nothing.  I believe that it’s contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ to go through life trying to get more and more.  I believe that it’s the devil himself who tries to convince me that the goal and end of my life is to secure my future.  My problems in life don’t stem from the fact that I don’t have enough stuff.  Quite to the contrary, most of my problems stem from the fact that the stuff I have is always in danger of having me, of taking my eyes off of the true source of my life.”

Then Mike said, “Listen, are you a Christian?”

And the man said, “Well, yes.”

“Well, then, let me give you an opportunity to repent of this foolishness, to risk it all by giving up any notion that you can secure one iota of your life, and come back to the gospel.  Let me ask you a question: Would you be interested in pursuing some other avenues of Christian faithfulness by getting rid of the stuff you have, and vowing not pursue the accumulation of more stuff?”

And when he heard this he was shocked and went away grieving for he had many possessions.

Well, Mike didn’t actually say any of that.  What he really said was “No thank you,” and then hung up the phone.  But what if he had said it?  What kind of a church would we have to be to produce someone who could say something like that?  That’s really the question, isn’t it?