We continue to live within a world-system that promotes the idea that having more “stuff” is what’s most important. Having lots of “stuff” is a sign of success, achievement or recognition; you’ve made it to the top; you’ve arrived. Houses, cars, boats, clothes, electronic gadgets, etc. are all set before us as the answer to filling that empty feeling inside of each one of us.
Companies pay large sums of money to advertising firms to come up with catchy slogans that will identify their products and then stick in the consumers’ memories. If we’re not careful, we can find ourselves spending more money than we have on “stuff” we don’t need simply because we’ve allowed ourselves to be convinced by the advertisers’ slogans and jingles.
The question, then, is, “How important is our ‘stuff’”? Does our “stuff” resolve the various conflicts in our lives? Does our “stuff” improve our relationship with God, spouse, children, friends, co-workers, church family, or neighbors? Is our “stuff” what we reach for in times of chaos and confusion? Is our “stuff” able to improve our health, cure the cancer or restore the damaged arteries after a stroke? Do we own our “stuff” or does our “stuff” own us?
As one who has been at the bedside of many who are transitioning from life on earth to life in eternity (regardless of their eternal destination), not one person has asked for their “stuff” to be at their bedside. Not one person has asked for their car, motorcycle, boat, or any thing else to be brought to them as they wait to take their last breath.
Jesus gives us a firm reminder of what’s really important. In Mark 8:34-38 we read,
“If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s shall save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”
What does is profit a man to gain the whole world and yet lose his soul? The worth of the immaterial part of a person that lives on into eternity, the soul/spirit, is beyond calculating. It is, in fact, priceless. Why? Because that part of every person will experience one of only two things when it is released at physical death: (1) eternal joy with God in His presence, forever or (2) eternal grief, sorrow, and agony, separated from God, forever. Eternal means forever and ever and ever.
God’s Word tells us that, a person dies once and after that comes judgment, (Hebrews 9:27),
In other words, there are no second chances, after physical death occurs, for the soul/spirit to be redeemed. So the admonition is serious, “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart,” (Ps. 95:7-ff; Hebrews 3:15).
There are only a few things that most people seek when they are coming to the end of their lives here on earth: (1) Forgiveness from God and those whom they have hurt; (2) peace of mind and heart, (3) to not be alone in their dying moment.
No one asks for their “stuff.”
May the Lord bless you as you continue to seek and serve Him.
By His Grace,
Gary T. Dromi, Ph.D.