Why Let Possessions Possess You?

By Fr. Adolf Washington –

Fr. Adolf Washington

A rich industrialist taking a walk on the seashore one evening asked a fisherman relaxing next to his boat. “Aren’t you going fishing?” The fisherman replied “I’ve caught enough fish for today” .

“But look” said the industrialist “you can go and fish more. With more fish you can make more money.  With more money you can buy sophisticated and bigger boats, bigger fishing nets and also hire people to work for you”.

After the fisherman patiently listened to the industrialist’s lecture, he asked “And after doing all this, what next?”

“You can just sit back and relax” exclaimed the industrialist.

“Sir, and what do you think I am doing now?” the fisherman said, as he smiled and reclined gently on his little boat.

We experience true contentment and joy in life not in increasing our possessions but in reducing our desires. 

A young man walking through a forest repeatedly heard a mysterious voice saying “Pick up some pebbles and put them into your pocket and you will be both happy and sad”.  Supposing it to be the ‘voice of God’, he put a handful of pebbles into his pocket.  When he returned home, his eyes sparkled as the pebbles turned into precious pearls, diamonds and emeralds, a fortune enough for a life-time and more.  He was exceedingly happy.  But he became exceedingly sad and regretful for the rest of his life because he wished he carried home a sack of pebbles.    

We are happier when we don’t cling to our possessions or allow possessions to cling to us. Acclaimed Lebanese-American artist, poet, and writer Khalil Gibran puts it so crisply “Don’t cling to that which clings to you”.

Our feeling of insecurity rises when our possessions increase.  Jesus cautioned “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves, treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Mathew 6:19-21)

When Jesus spoke about storing up treasures in heaven He indicated seeking security from a God who satisfies our needs not our greed.

Have you measured your wealth in that which money can never buy?