Embarrassment of Riches


My wife and I have been growing in our desire to minimalize. We want our lives to be neater, more orderly, less cluttered, and more freeing. We want this in terms of items in our house and in our time and schedules; really, we want it in our lives as a whole.

As I have been working on paring back my books (I’ve managed to avoid needing therapy for this so far), I cannot help but thinking about how many riches surround us. I am sure I have more books than I could read in my lifetime as it is. In terms of information, I am rich. Since books are my main struggle, I chose to use that as a picture for this post to represent the riches we have. But we have other riches as well.

I have thought the same thing about the clothes I have. I have clothes in my closet and drawers that I am sure I have never worn. If I have, I cannot remember it. Some people struggle to find clothing to wear, yet I have more than I actually wear. In terms of clothing, I am rich.

We are the same with anything I can think about. Food. Money. (My friends just returned from Uganda, and talking with them always reminds me just how rich we truly are in comparison to many parts of the world.) You name it.

This got me thinking in spiritual terms as well. Looking at books to get rid of, I realize just how many Bibles I actually own. Do I read them all? No. I have a select few that I return to time and again. But I keep the others just in case. But that got me thinking. What about my spiritual riches?

I have all these Bibles. Some people have none or only one or two to share in a village. I can read mine whenever I want. I am rich indeed. But am I wasting these riches? Do I neglect my Bible more than I should? Even when I read it, am I reading for information only, am I reading to check off some spiritual to-do list, or am I really reading to know the God of the universe through His Son Jesus Christ? Am I memorizing passages to know them, or so that they will sink down deep into my heart to enact lasting change by applying it to my life?

What about time? I have more than enough time (even though I may complain that I don’t). I don’t often work 12-hour days, much less working my entire waking moments. I have free time. Some people don’t have that free time. I am rich. But am I using that time wisely, making the most of the time? Or am I wasting what time I do have? John Piper has said that the greatest use of various forms of social media will be to prove on the last day that we really did have time for prayer.  Ouch.

I could go on. When we think of riches, most of us truly have an embarrassment of them. We will be held accountable as stewards of what God has given us. What will the outcome be for us in terms of rewards?

Let us realize the riches we have, and let us steward them wisely for God’s glory.


2 thoughts on “Embarrassment of Riches

  1. Wife and I have a continual struggle with my books: she struggles to get rid of them, I struggle to keep them (two deep on most shelves, several boxes in the cellar…more keep arriving in the post and I know not how to stop the m0.


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