Bella Vista Church of Christ



Dan Williams

Harding University




  In the evenings Gina and I often enjoy a brisk walk around our neighborhood. It is good exercise, it is a companionable activity, and it gives us the opportunity to greet and meet our neighbors. Recently we met a neighbor on our block for the first time. What happened next was so striking, I wrote it down as soon as we arrived home.


  After we introduced ourselves, our neighbor immediately launched into a non-stop monologue. Over the following seven minutes we learned that she and her husband were retired; that they had upgraded to their current house; that they had just purchased the expensive travel trailer we saw sitting in their driveway, but they had not used it; that they had spent a lot of money installing a new swimming pool in their backyard for their two little granddaughters to use, which the children had only used once; that they were now paying a pricey pool service to keep it clean; that they had just completed an addition to their already large house; that she was refinishing all the cabinets in her kitchen; that she had purchased new furniture and was in the process of purchasing more; that she enjoyed shopping at a nearby mall; and on and on.


Jesus said

“Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45).


  In other words, if you want to know a person’s priority in life, listen to what they talk about. Everything our neighbor said revolved around shopping, purchasing, and owning. Her “overflow” revealed one of the most materialistic mindsets I have ever encountered.


Jesus warns in Luke 12:15,

“Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”


  We should never build our life around possessions, because all the things of this world are impermanent (1 Timothy 6:6-10) and can never truly satisfy our soul. Use your possessions wisely, and even enjoy them when possible, but never put your hope in them (1 Timothy 6:17). After the initial thrill of the purchase subsides, the “shiny” wears off and your things will become just that – things. Things that have to be cleaned, maintained, stored, guarded, insured, fixed, and ultimately, disposed of – if not by you, then by your heirs.


  What is your life all about? Just between us, the longer I live the more I realize the emptiness of possessions and the more I want to invest in something that can outlive me. That means I need to take seriously the command of Jesus in Matthew 6:20-21 “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Remember the old poem by C.T. Studd:  “Only one life, twill soon be past; Only what’s done for Christ will last.”


—Dan Williams

   Harding University