Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Food for Thought

Here is a marvelous quote that reminds us not to hold too tightly to the things of this world.

"Everything we have is on loan. Our homes, businesses, rivers, closest relationships, bodies, and experiences, everything we have is ours in trust, and must be returned at the end of our use of it. As trustees we have the highest and strictest requirements of fiduciary duty: to use nothing for our sole benefit; to manage prudently; and to and to return that which has been in our care in as good or better condition than it was when given into our custody." (John McQuiston II, Always We Begin Again: The Benedictine Way of Living, Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Publishing, 1996, p52)

Sometimes we hold too tightly to the things we have. Like demanding babies, we assert our rights to what we want. We insist on things, even those things not meant for us, simply by crying out 'unfair!'  In a world where people want to be equitable, their demand for fairness usually means that everyone have to get a fair piece of the pie, regardless of needs or requirements. The sad outcome of it all is that the rich gets richer, while the poor remains poor.

The strange thing is this, we all know that things do not follow us after we die. Yet we demand. We accumulate. We hoard. Only to let the dust settle on our unused stuff, or the rust to dull our shiny metals. Perhaps, the questions to ask is this:

  • How does our demand for things benefit our community and society?
  • What kind of needs do the thing fulfill for us? How significant is the thing's contribution to our true happiness?
Perhaps, instead of the accumulation of more stuff, what about the accumulation of something more precious like wisdom? Wisdom to know when to pick up, and when to lay down. Wisdom to know when to take and when to give away. Wisdom to see how the things we have can benefit others, besides our own selves. McQuiston gives us one sound advice: Treat the things we have as if they are on loan. That is the needed wisdom for this consumerist age. Even better, treat the things we have as if they are borrowed from God.



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