Blessed… Sell Your Stuff

A man approached him and said, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to have eternal life?” Jesus said, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There’s only one who is good. If you want to enter eternal life, keep the commandments.” The man said, “Which ones?” Then Jesus said, “Don’t commit murder. Don’t commit adultery. Don’t steal. Don’t give false testimony. Honor your father and mother,[d] and love your neighbor as you love yourself.” The young man replied, “I’ve kept all these. What am I still missing?” Jesus said, “If you want to be complete, go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. And come follow me.” But when the young man heard this, he went away saddened, because he had many possessions (Matthew 19:16-22, Common English Bible).

I am a sucker for a good title. One of my favorites is, Will Jesus Buy Me a Double Wide: Cause I Need More Room for My Plasma TV. I haven’t read the book (not from lack of trying, I just couldn’t get into it), but I love the title.

Now retired United Methodist Preacher, Dr. Jim Moore is a master of the title. Some of Jim’s great titles include: Yes Lord I Have Sinned But I Have Several Excellent Excuses, If Jesus is Your Co-Pilot, Swap Seats, Daddy is that Story True or Were You Just Preaching? If God Has a Refrigerator You’re Picture is On It, God was Here and I was Out to Lunch and Have You Ever Seen a Hearse Pulling a Trailer plus several more. Some of these I have read and others I haven’t. But, I love the titles.

That last title is one of my favorites. Have You Ever See a Hearse Pulling a Trailer. We collect so much stuff. In American society people who hoard whatever they can get there hands on are becoming more and more common. We have all probably seen on television people who are compulsive hoarders even if you haven’t experienced it in person. You can walk into someone’s house and see stacks of newspapers and magazines with trails in the room to allow you to go from place to place.

The thing is, we gather stuff. We strive to get more stuff. And sometimes our stuff has the greatest place in our life. Our stuff is of central importance. Truth to tell, we would probably like to take it with us but, Have You Ever Seen a Hearse Pulling a Trailer. Point in fact, you can’t take it with you.

The rich young man, in the lesson above, just might be one of those who wants to accumulate a lot of stuff in his lifetime in hopes of figuring out a way to take it with him. I don’t think there is a lot of question that he believes in the old saying, “He Who Dies with the Most Toys Wins.” I have changed that up some. He who dies with the most toys still dies.

How much of the stuff we accumulate do we really need? Beyond that, not only do accumulate more stuff we don’t need, we let it take over the central place in our lives. It seems evident to me that the rich young man had allowed his stuff to take the central place in his life.

If I can see it Jesus sure could. I think that is why he told the guy to sell all he had and give the money to the poor. Jesus knew the place this man’s stuff had in his life and there isn’t enough room for God and our stuff. Jesus wanted him to give up the stuff in order to have a better relationship with God.

Earlier in my life I had little to no respect for Bill Gates, primarily because he owned Microsoft and I have always been bothered by the way the company took care of its business. In more recent years I have come to respect Mr. Gates a great deal. I also respect people like Warren Buffet of Berkshire-Hathaway. These two very wealthy men and several others intend to live their out their lives working to give away the wealth they have accumulated. I don’t know if either is a man of faith or not. I don’t know how they feel about this story. What I do know is, they know you can’t take it with you and they are taking the initiative to get rid of what they have and give the money (or the goods) to people in need. I pray we can find ways to do the same.

How do you live out selling what you have to give to the poor?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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