Thursday, February 18, 2010

We Are Slaves Of What We Crave

You've probably heard about how "money can't buy happiness" but seldom from folks as wealthy as Austrian millionaire, Karl Rabeder. Mr Rabeder came to this realization and proceeded to put together a plan to give his $4.7M fortune away... all of it.

"My idea is to have nothing left. Absolutely nothing."

Like many, Mr Rabeder used to pursue material wealth as a means to a happier life -

"For a long time I believed that more wealth and luxury automatically meant more happiness,"

Even though he knew better, over the years he never had the courage to give up the trappings of the "good life". However, over time, he came to a new and counter-cultural conclusion - he was enslaved by his possessions.

"I had the feeling I was working as a slave for things that I did not wish for or need...there are lot of people doing the same thing."

His conclusion upholds an unequivocal principle - "we are slaves to the things we crave".
We don't actually have to possess things to be enslaved by them... we only have to want or crave things for them to have a hold on our lives.

Jesus' words from Luke 12:15 serve as a sobering reminder for us -

"Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."

It's not simply possessions that we are to guard against but rather against "all covetousness". We can be poor and yet covet. Unguarded, we could find ourselves placing our hopes of a better life in the riches and possessions of this world. The problem with coveting is that the treasure we pursue is not worthy of the purpose for which we were made.
On the contrary, if we desire fellowship with God, we will find ourselves joyfully and satisfyingly captive to Him.

If like Mr Rabeder, we find that "we are slaves of what we want", then perhaps it would be appropriate to ask - "what is it that you really want and is it ultimately satisfying to your soul?"


Jimmy said...

so, i am kind of a cheap date. for me it is not as much money and possessions as it is notoriety that I covet --- the subject matter expert, to go to guy -- plus the accolades that go along with that.

it kind of takes me back to the great lie in Genesis 3:5b -- "... you will be like God"

Every Square Inch said...

Jimmy - we can be enslaved by anything that we crave...even "fame". Thanks for humbly sharing your weakness - may God bless you.

Halfmom said...

well said

as to me - too many things to list, but perhaps security most of all at the moment

Every Square Inch said...

I know in my life idols take many varied forms and can be as subtle as wanting job security or a happy home... both good things.

Sam Van Eman said...

Thanks for the interesting link, ESI. I wonder what comforts he'll keep in his life after all the money is gone.

Every Square Inch said...

Sam - so true. Giving away money is only half of the equation - having your heart filled with something truly meaningful is the other.