Occasionally, we hear someone say, half-seriously, “I have more money than I know how to spend!” It seems like a sweet problem to have. More often we very likely hear variations on this theme: “I have more shoes/clothes than I’m ever going to wear,” or “I have more sick days/frequent flier miles than I can possibly use.” I heard of this couple who bought so much original artwork that they felt compelled to buy a second home to display it all…imagine that.
None of these situations is a bona fide problem, needless to say. All have straightforward Christian solutions. But to the person who thinks the answer to excess is to build bigger barns, the Christian solution will not be so obvious. God does not deplore wealth; on the contrary, “Give success to the work of our hands” is a time-honored prayer in the Psalms. But at the same time, the obligation to share with the disadvantaged is equally biblical. If we choose the bigger barn over participating in works of mercy and charity, then we have given ourselves over to the most insufferable form of vanity.
Because our charity is not vanity. It is, along with faith and hope, one of the three things that last. If the vanity of mortal existence gets us down, the answer is simple: Choose what is above, as St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians recommends (today’s second reading).
Friends, make decisions that have a lasting benefit, the kind that impact on eternal values. Be rich “in what matters to God”—and you can bet, what matters to God has nothing to do with the stuff in your closet, portfolio, or curriculum vitae.
Quote of the Week
Vanity not only distances us from God: it makes us look ridiculous.