Today’s Scripture Reading (March 25, 2013): Proverbs 1
Aristotle Onassis was once asked how much was enough? He seemed to have an almost insatiable appetite for the accumulation of wealth (and accumulation was something that he did very well.) Onassis’s famous reply to the question was one word – more. The answer has both been celebrated and treated as the response of a very immature person. For some, it reflects the very capitalist idea that happiness can only be found in the accumulation of things. But we also understand that the capital ideal of more has very seldom made us really happy.
At the same time, I have to admit that I do wonder if maybe Aristotle Onassis was right. (You were not expecting that, were you?) Maybe it is more that we were designed to chase. Not that the accumulation of things should ever be an end unto itself, but rather that the chasing after something is necessary for human life. No matter where our accumulation stands at this precise moment in time, we all seem to require a carrot and a stick – the carrot to chase and the stick to whack us from behind when we think we have enough. But we are built to work better when we have a reason to get up in the morning - having said that, we do have to be careful that we are chasing after the right things.
So Jesus told a story about a rich man who had decided that he had gained enough. So his next action was to quit the race. He would build a bigger barn to keep all of his stuff in and then sit back and eat, drink and be merry. But Jesus closes the story with the statement that the man was a fool because his life would end that very night and all of his wealth could not save him. And then this comment - “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:21).
The problem is that there are always things that we need to commit ourselves to – and while the accumulation of things may not help us, there is always good that needs to be done. So the author of proverbs makes this statement - For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them - because those who have never discovered the complexity of life will never discover the good that is left to be done. And because of that, we will discover a complacently to life that will lead them only to destruction.
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Proverbs 2