• The Rev. Charles Smith

Who Owns You?

Who owns you? Is it you? Your stuff? Your family? God?

If you are like me you want to think of yourself as a fiercely independent person who makes up your own mind about what you are going to do. Yes, you pray and try to follow Jesus but you want to be in control of the things and decisions of your life. I get it and there is something to be said about taking responsibility for your own choices and actions.

But it is a lot harder to be quite as independent and free in our choices as we like to think we are. There are realities of living that can get in the way/ Our stuff has a wayof making an awful lot of our choices for us. If you are not careful your stuff can end up owning you.

During one of the NBA lockouts of the 1990's I remember hearing Charles Barkley bemoaning the economic hardships the players were enduring. The interviewer, not terribly impressed, noted that few sports fans could muster much sympathy for millionaires arguing with billionaires about pay. Barkley responded that the players made a lot of money BUT THEY SPEND A LOT OF MONEY too. The statistics show that he was telling the truth. 60% of NBA players go bankrupt withing five years of retiring. For the NFL it is worse at nearly 80% of players.

Having lots of money can and does make a lot of problems easier to deal with. If you car breaks down and you have plenty of money in the bank to repair it then the problem becomes an inconvenience. If you are stuck without a ride while you scramble to get to work while trying to scrape together the funds to repair the car it is a disaster. BUT having stuff also causes problems.

Look around your house and think about the stuff you have their that you just do not use. There it sits waiting to be dusted. I can think of several boxes of things that have moved with my wife and I from Virginia Beach to seminary to South Carolina back to Virginia and back to South Carolina without being opened. Sure they are full of really important things or we would not have kept moving them (duh!!!). It takes something of your time to care for and protect these things.

Look down at your smartphone or if you are really brave and go into the settings and see how much time you spend looking at the screen of it. There is even a new word "Phubbing" to describe snubbing your friends and family by being on the phone instead of with them. And don't point your finger and wag at the Millennials here there are loads of Boomers and Gen X who are gross offenders on this front.

Think about the people and things you would say are most important in your life. Then think about your time and money and where they actually get spent. Jesus tells us that where your time and money are there your heart (your love) will be. I find that this is so true in my life and I do spend my time and money on the things that are important in my life.

As a priest people will frequently tell me that their relationship with God is one of the most important things in their life and they just wish they could spend time being more prayerful or faithful or that they could give more money to support the work of the gospel in the world. But they can't.

They can't be more prayerful or give more money to support the work of the gospel because of INSERT THING(S) HERE that they own or are trying to own. But who actually owns the things. If your house or boat or 401(k) or student loans are keeping you from doing the things you actually want to do don't they own you?

Don't let your things own you. Don't let yourself get so caught up in climbing the staircase of "success" or "wealth" that you end up being impoverished and owned by things that someone else is going to end up getting rid of when you die anyways.

If you want some help taking control back over your life and becoming a holier, happier, more faithful person contact Fr. Charles and he is happy to provide you with Spiritual Coaching.

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