Downsizing…of Sorts

Then he said, “I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones.
Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods.”

Luke 12:18 NLT

“Where are we going put it? I think we’re turning into hoarders.”

My wife and I both have asked the question and made the statements. Our love for antiques…especially furniture, keeps us adding to our collection and trying to stuff them into a small townhouse. On a recent move, we decided we were going to downsize—of sorts. Not that we were going to sell anything. We would simply transfer some things from our townhouse to the storage shed.

There were a few items we decided we could live without seeing or using. We loaded them into the back of our SUV and transported them several miles away. Perhaps our kids will want them someday. Or, maybe we’ll once again live in a larger place before we die. And of course, all of our stored pieces are assets we can sell if we need money.

Jesus told about a rich man who was a hoarder—but he wasn’t into downsizing. He was into upsizing. His crops produced more than normal. His barns were full. There was nothing for him to do but build larger barns, store his goods, and eat drink and be merry. Life was good…or so he thought, until God confronted him and told him his life would end that night.

Whether I downsize in actuality, I need to at least downsize in my thinking. Possessions are for this life. I will always love antiques and continue collecting them—and sell a few along the way. But I’m intelligent enough to know I can’t take them to heaven with me when I go.

God gives us things of this life to enjoy, but they are for the earth, not heaven or the new earth. Possessions are tangible, corruptible, breakable, and can be stolen by thieves. Placing my security or faith in them will always lead to disappointment.

My possessions bring me joy, but God expects me to use them to help others and also advance His Kingdom. Seeing what I have as temporary helps me do this with the right attitude and avoid the rich man’s. He was selfish and thought only of himself. And, if by chance, my possessions turn my focus from God, I need to downsize.

Don’t let your possessions possess you. Downsize.

Money: Evil’s Root

Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have.
Hebrews 13:5 NLT

“Money is the root of all evil.”

Though my standard of living would be considered rich by third-world standards, by American standards I’ve rarely lived a comfortable lifestyle. Making the monthly bills match the monthly income has always been a challenge. In spite of that, I’ve made the mistake more than once of buying things I didn’t need. My grandmother and mother often said, “That money is burning a hole in your pocket.” All the while, I was thinking, Well if I had more, maybe it wouldn’t. And somewhere along the line, someone would comment, “You know, the Bible says, “Money is the root of all evil.’” And I would mumble under my breath, No, it doesn’t. I was a preacher’s kid. I may not have always abided by biblical principles, but I knew what they were.

This verse is similar to the often misquoted one, For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10). Money isn’t the issue; love of it is.

The Bible says a lot about money—or possessions. And they’re both the same. I may not have cash on hand, but if I have possessions (even stocks and bonds), I have money. Liquidating my assets would give me spendable funds. Jesus had a lot to say about money, and the disciples and apostles who continued His teachings carried on the tradition.

One thing the Bible doesn’t teach is that money is the root of all kinds of evil. Leaving the word love out changes the meaning and distorts the truth. To be sure, those who have great amounts of money normally love it, but the principle remains: having money isn’t the root of all evil.

Loving my money—in whatever form it takes, will cause me issues, not having the money itself. Money is necessary to pay my bills so I can exist in a monetary economy. Loving my money, on the other hand, will lead me down roads to greed, selfishness, poor decisions, crime, unhealthy relationships, and possibly an eternity apart from God.

Instead of letting money be a root of evil in your life, use it to help others and advance God’s Kingdom work. Give graciously, sacrificially, and with honorable motives.