Abundance of Things or Life

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11 January, 2023




Then he said to them, 'Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.' Luke 12:15

I have long ago given up the hope of making any appreciable change in the world's philosophy of life. Were I concerned solely with the ways of the world, this piece would never be written; but when the children of God accept the world's values it is time some Christian spoke up.

Babylon may have her gods, her own way of life and her own moral standards. It is when Israel begins to adopt them that the prophet of God becomes responsible to rise and cry against them.

The man in the big car is thinking wrongly about himself and others and everything that relates to himself and them. He is as completely wrong as a man who gets off a bus in London and believes himself to be in New York. For his error he must not be blamed or scolded for he is simply mistaken, terribly mistaken, and should be dealt with patiently as a lost man, for such he undoubtedly is, at least for the time.

Someone should explain to him that a man's life consisteth not in the abundance or elegance of the things which he possesseth. He should be taught that the excellence of anything lies in the perfection of its nature. The excellence of a horse (as Plato said somewhere) lies in the perfection of the qualities that make it a horse—strength, speed, intelligence, et cetera—and these cannot be transferred to something else.

Give to a wren, for instance, the qualities that constitute a good horse and you have a grotesque monster that is neither wren nor horse. How unthinkable for a wren to perch on the back of the horse and ride proudly by under the mistaken impression that it has now reached his complete fulfillment. No. The horse cannot impart anything to the nature of the wren that will add to its excellence as a wren. Let the wren know itself and seek its fulfillment singing beside its nest and gathering food for its young, not in trying to borrow a glory that must be forever foreign to it.

And so with a man. . . .


We are not defined by our abundance of possessions or lack of them. Unrestrained craving for things can become a cancer of the heart. And all the things must one day be left behind. It is abundant life that counts!


Father, my greatest need is abundant life not abundant things. Help me to maintain proper perspective.