Running from Materialism

running from materialism

When I was in college, I had a professor who shared this story:

It was moving day for his family.  They were unloading the truck and taking the furniture into the new house.  The professor was carrying a lovely, family heirloom. . . a cherry table that had been passed down in his wife’s family.  This was one of his wife’s most treasured pieces of furniture.

Well, as he was carrying it in . . . you can guess what happened.  His grip somehow slipped and he dropped the gorgeous table.

And it cracked.

His wife’s beloved reminder of her family, broken and damaged.  Immediately, he was wrought with anguish.  This was a man who adored his wife.  He knew full well how she felt about her cherry table.  Would she be mad?  Would she cry?   Would she be crushed and disappointed?

When the professor’s wife saw what had happened, he began pouring out his remorse and sorrow.  But she had only one response.

She said, “Don’t worry, honey.  You can’t love something that can’t love you back.”

Hmmm…How easily do you hold on to your material possessions?  I have to ask myself this question.  And then I have to decide if I like the answer or if I’m being truthful.

We live in a very materialistic world.  We are faced with marketing guru’s who tell us what we should want and what we need to be “happy.”  Earlier in the week, I saw a show on HGTV called “Island Hunters.”  People were actually shopping for an island.  An island!   Well, in one of the families, it was their second island, but who’s counting.  What a concept!

Of course, I started day-dreaming about owning a lovely little island with a luxury home where I could visit on the weekends.  Then 2 seconds later, I got real.  But that 30 minutes of tv still made me focus on what I possess and what I don’t.

How are we fighting the tide of materialism that washes across our country in movies, commercials, magazine spots and internet sidebars?

The answer?  Guard your heart.  Don’t love something that can’t love you back.  Don’t be captivated by what you don’t have.  And don’t spend all your energy and focus on things that don’t last.

Scripture tell us  “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”  Matthew 6:24

Who is your master?  What rules your heart?  These are great questions we should ask ourselves regularly.  Over the years, this story of the cherry table has popped in my head more times than I can count and I am forced to ask myself, “How tightly do I hold on to ‘things?'”

store up treasures in heaven-2

I can enjoy the things I have.  I can appreciate their beauty and their use.  But I need to run from a mindset of materialism.  I need to focus on what is lasting and what is important.  This is how I will find freedom from the love of stuff . . . after all, that stuff can’t love you back.

Matthew 6:19-21  “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.


  1. oh, i feel for that lady about her table, but what wise words from the professor! Such a great reminder!

  2. SUCH great points, thanks for sharing! 🙂 In this materialistic culture we need constant reminders to hold our “stuff” loosely and guard our hearts.

  3. Oh wow, this is convicting because I have a dining table that has great meaning to me as well. I need to pray for a heart that holds loosely to such things. Great post, Kristen!

    • For me, I can tell how much I am attached to something by what I think my reaction would be if I lost it. Sometimes, I have a healthy response and others, not so much. Planning for moving has really put this on my mind and helped me examine my heart. 🙂