Ansell: What are we willing to leave behind?
There’s a funny story about a wealthy old man that died. Just prior to his death he asked his pastor, his lawyer and his doctor to come to his bedside. He shared with them the old saying, “You can’t take it with you.” But then he questioned that thought, “What if they are wrong? What if you can take it with you and what if you need money on the ‘other side?’” So he gave an envelope to each one, his pastor, his lawyer and his doctor. Each envelope had $100,000.00 in cash inside of it and he instructed each one that when he died, at his funeral to slip the envelopes into his suit jacket, just in case.
Not long after this meeting the old man died and each one was seen slipping something into the suit jacket of the deceased as they paid their final respects.
After the service, the doctor told the other advisors that he had a confession to make. He said, “I took $20,000.00 out of my envelope to help the hospital pay for some new equipment but I did leave the balance of $80,000.00 and I did place it in the suit jacket of our friend.”
About this time the minister cleared his throat and said he had something to share as well. “I have a confession. Our church budget is growing thin and the poor of our community have so many needs. I couldn’t help but think that burying that money was wrong - so in order to help the poor I took $50,000.00 out of my envelope but I did place the envelope with the remaining $50,000.00 into the suit jacket of our friend.”
Finally, the lawyer shared that he was shocked and appalled by the behavior of the other two trusted advisors of the deceased, he said, “I want you to know that I placed in the suit jacket my envelope with a personal check for the full $100,000.00.”
In Matthew 19:27 Peter reminded Jesus (as if He needed reminding) that they had, “left everything” in order to “follow” Him. Is that true of us? What’s everything? Peter says he left everything but what about me? As I look around I still have everything (and want even more things), not only that but I claim to have Jesus too, hmmm.
Is it greed? I would think most of us would not consider ourselves greedy and I’m not sure I know too many people I would call greedy, but by Biblical standards I think most of us qualify.
Greed is an odd sin. We see something we want and it takes control of us. When we started shopping for the new red Jeep, it kept me up at night, sadly it consumed me and was on my mind all the time (as I get older I'm not very decisive). We act on our greed don’t we? We justify our greed. Greed is more, how much is enough, we say just a little bit more (that’s justification). It’s about our material comfort. Yeah, we have left everything alright, ha! At least everything we were willing to leave, kind of like what they left in those envelopes. It makes you think doesn’t it?
Jesus said in Luke 12:15, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own (for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions).” Ouch! He told me to tell you that.