Why I've Fallen In Love with Throwing Things Out

It started with a YouTube video, as so many great things do. This video, to be exact. One guy talking about a concept called minimalism.

And then I read a book. It was called The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life, and it was by Francine Jay. 

Minimalism, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, is a lifestyle where you pare down your stuff to just the essentials, just the things that make you happiest, and just the things you use the most. 

And suddenly this started clicking for me. This was my thought process: I have a lot of stuff. I have a few things I use all the time and a few things I love, but a lot of stuff that sits on a shelf or hangs in my closet that never gets touched. I don't like that I'm so cluttered. So why do I still have this stuff?

Hence, the throwing things out. First, my clothes. Then, my books. Then, my desk. Then, my closet. I went through every item, removed it from its home, and asked: "Do I love this? Do I use this? Will I miss this?" Two giant bags of clothes are gone. Three giant bags of garbage are gone. One giant bag of stuff has been given away. My room has never been so clean, so organized, and so loved. It's refreshing being in here, with everything in its place.

Having less stuff is kind of lovely. I wear all of my clothes and jewelry and scarves and sunglasses. I love all my books. It's easy to keep the place clean. 

I've also been forced to reckon with how owning a lot of things I neither use nor like glorifies God. Paring down my possessions has genuinely made me less reliant on them. And it's made me less eager to go out and buy a bunch of new things I will soon have to store -- and eventually get rid of. I believe owning less stuff is a little step I've taken that's personally benefited me spiritually. 

As I get older, I'm realizing that life is about so much more than stuff. And I've seen that stuff can take hold of your heart and actually rob it of happiness. In a culture that's told possessions are the key to joy and fulfillment, the Christian knows that's just not true. For me, owning less things is a little way to remind myself that contentedness, comfort, and satisfaction are not rooted in stuff; they're rooted in Christ.

No matter how much you own, the point of life is still the same -- glorify God with what you've been given. Be a good gospel steward. If you don't need to get rid of anything to do that, great. If you do, great. 

But don't be a thoughtless and unengaged steward. 

What Really Makes Us Happy

When I say happy place, a joy-inducing image will indubitably come to your mind.

There might be a cottage or a kitchen or your parent's house or a tire swing or a reading corner or a beach. Wherever it is, it stirs you to contentment and peace.

But what if that place was stripped away? What if your parents sold their house? What if the tire swing was cut down or the kitchen remodeled?

Happy places force us to ask ourselves: What really makes us happy?

And when you get down to it, it's not really any place that makes us happy.

It's the security of a place, the protection it seems to provide. It's the joy of it. It's the memories of happiness - I have the history of warm and fuzzies. It's the fun of it. It's the people there.

So many pieces conglomerate to create your happy place.

Ultimately, what makes us happy are the intangibles in life. Joy, safety, peace, love - and the people that manifest them.

But without the Creator of those good intangibles, we could never be truly happy. It is because our happiness is founded, rooted, grounded in God that we can ever taste happiness on this earth.

When you consider what makes you happy, the material often comes to mind - ice cream, movies, good books, pillows. But when you dig a little deeper, it is really the feelings, the emotions, the tastes these things evoke - the intangibles.

What really makes us happy? The things in life you can't measure. The things you can't necessarily hold in your hand or stuff in your pocket. These are the very things that shape our reality.

And these are the things endowed by the Giver of good gifts.

Photo Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons and Tim Samoff.

things I want

Once upon a time, yonder back in the ages, in 2010, a social media platform was created. It was called Pinterest. It was all about pictures. You created a board and then you searched and pinned pictures onto this board.

I occasionally poke my virtual head onto this platform and get to wear a variety of hats. I play novice wedding planner, interior decorator, chef, travel agent, fitness guru, and shopper. Picture boards have themes and there is pretty much a board for everything. It's fun to set a time limit and sift through interesting boards.

Once a week or so, Pinterest sends me an email. "Hi Jaquelle," they tell me. "Here are new boards to follow." This week took me to a board with a relatively simple title: things I want.

There were some pretty neat items - things ranging from pretzel-shaped earrings to funky blenders to popsicle-shaped phone cases to enamelware bowls to golden sneakers. But as I scrolled through the many pins, I began to think: is this godly?

To make a list of things that one wants - unrealistic, outrageous, expensive non-necessities - does that foster gratitude?

For me, it would not. I know my heart's proclivity to greed. I know how I can become obsessed with all the things I don't have instead of reflecting on all the things I do. Sure, the board was made in good fun, and it was a silly escape to scan through it.

But then it hit me: I do this too.

Not on Pinterest, but in my heart. I keep an internal list of things I want. And it distracts me from gratitude. Not all the things on my list are material but there are always things I want.

I want a great GPA.

I want to be done school.

I want more money.

I want to go on vacation.

I want satisfaction in all of these things. Satisfaction apart from God. I look to these things to make me happy, because I think that they will. things I want. They can become idols.

So the remedy to my greed, to my idolatry, to my ingratitude is to fix my eyes on God. Take all of my heart's wanting and let that swelling desire in my heart be swallowed up in gratitude to my Maker. Worship to my Life-Giver. Hope in my Saviour. Praise to my Lord. Humility to my King. Joy in my Redeemer.

And service to my God.

Photo Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons and John Bullas.

The Endearing Quality of Courage

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies may be gory (sometimes, in fact, a little unnecessarily), but it displays a virtue that has been gravely minimized on a society-wide level. It is courage. The courage to fight when you feel afraid. The courage to be strong for those who are weak. The courage to come to the defense of those in need. The courage to shake off the comfort of cowardice. The courage to endure. The courage to stand up for what is right.

And while our society may laud the heroic displays of courage in a film, they laugh at them in reality. In "real life," we're more apt to, as my mother put it, laud the cowards. We celebrate the people who claw their way to the top, pushing past women and children, motivated by greed and self-interest. These are the self-made men, our popular personages.

Cowardice unspools its thread through human history all the way back to the Garden when man broke God's rules and then hid like cowards from responsibility.

And then cowardice died in the face of the greatest act of courage this sin-spattered earth has ever seen: the cross. God Himself stood up and came to the defense of His desperate, weak creation. When we were trembling from cowardice, God was strong. The Shepherd died for His flock.

For the Christian, we are called to be courageous. As God commanded Joshua so many years ago, we are called to abandon the lethargy of fear and irresponsibility and be brave. That means standing up for the weak. It means telling the world about that almost unfathomable courage of the God-Man. It means not remaining silent in the face of evil, whether that be the murder of children or the injustice of racism. It means being true to the Word of God above all else, at any cost. Courage means being faithful to our courageous King.

The Hobbit displays a mere fictional fragment of the beauty of courage. Yet it awakens in us a desire to fight for our fellow man, to rage against the march of evil. And as Christians we are called to this on a deeper level. We are called to be courageous for the King.

Just a Little More

Someone once asked John Rockefeller how much money he wanted. The richest man in the world replied, "Just a little more."

Christmas has a propensity to bring out our ugly side. It has a tendency to draw out our sin like blood. The mass consumerism that bullies us and bowls us over offers us opportunities for greed like a flawless slice of cake. And we eat it like we have no choice. Like kids in a toy store, greed feeds off us like a parasite. What do we want? Just a little more.

Greed is directly linked to ingratitude, and ingratitude is the enemy of Christmas. This is the one special, spectacular time of year where we all just stop together and, in unadulterated worship, give thanks for the incarnation. Christmas is all about gratitude, all about our gratefulness to God for giving us the best gift of all - His Son.

And we shrug it off in the name of the holiday spirit. We distract ourselves with gifts and goodies until we've dulled ourselves to Christmas' right reality. We want, we want, we want.

Just a little more.

We - I - need to take a deep breath this December and ask for forgiveness. Most of us are guilty of greed this holiday, whether it's greed for ourselves or greed for others. Greed is sin, sick and vile. But there is mercy for our sin this Christmas. There is mercy in a manger, mercy that culminates in a cross, and mercy that comes alive in a tomb.

Lay aside the weight of greed this Christmas in favour of mercy.

When the King Came to Tell Stories: Part 1

“Once upon a time, a king came to earth to tell stories, and the stories contained the mystery of eternal life.” - Jared Wilson, in The Storytelling God

Series Intro: Parables were a very important part of Jesus' teaching. These short, fictitious stories meant to illustrate a point and make an application were an integral aspect of Jesus' ministry. He used dozens of them. And the parables' purpose was simple: each of them was meant to proclaim the gospel and reveal the character of God. Yet these parables are perhaps the most misunderstood part of Jesus' teaching.

Today the danger is to make every story a moral lesson, teaching us to be nicer people, better money-managers, and good soil. And every parable does have a lesson, many distinctly applicable for us today. But the parables are first and foremost about who Christ is - the King - and what He's saying - the mystery of eternal life.

Over the next week I'm going to make reflections and draw applications from three well-known parables: 1) The Master and the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), 2) The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), and 3) The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). Since these passages are all fairly long, I will not include them in the posts. Instead I hope that you'll read them yourself or at least find yourself familiar with them.

The Master and the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30)
An important place to begin with this parable is to identify the cast of characters we have. The Master is clearly Jesus, the wise servants who invested their money are followers of Jesus, and the servant who buried his money is someone who thought he was a follower of Jesus, but really wasn't.

This parable is not about money. There is an application about money, but that is not the direct theme. The theme is about Christ's authority and our stewardship. God is the final authority in a Christian's life and thus everything we have belongs to Him. Practically, this plays out in several ways:

Time. Are we being responsible with our time, knowing that every minute God has given us is to bring glory to Him?
Words. Are we showing grace and wisdom in our words? In Matthew 12:36-37, Jesus says, "I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."
Relationships. Are we showing kindness and demonstrating good stewardship with the people we've been given to care for, or the people we have been granted friendship and familial bonds with?
Possessions. Are we using our houses, books, cars, pools, pianos, and everything we own to minister to God's people and promote the kingdom of God?
Money. Are we showing discernment and unwavering commitment to God above all else with the money we've been given?

This is a parable about the glory of God, and practically bringing glory to God through biblical stewardship. Don't get lost in the slippery slope of making this about morality. This story holds the mystery of eternal life. And it was taught by a King. It's about much more than just morality.

Image Credit:

Modern Youth Culture and the Plague of Affluence: Part 2

Check out Part 1 here.

Watching the Nickelodeon movie, Bratz, made me desperately embarrassed to be a teenager. The four leads, and especially the "leader" of the leads, had moral characters awkwardly shallow and were burdened with overwhelming selfishness and an obsessive vanity. Their thoughts were rarely far from material goods and their own wishes and whims. This was a popular portrayal of the modern youth culture.

The deepest point of the movie was when Yasmin, the leader of the four leads, your typical affluent American teen, whose mom supplies her with a constant stream of fancy shoes in exchange for chocolate, bumps into a boy coming out of a classroom. This boy is named Dylan, and he's a football jock. But before seeing who he is, Yasmin snaps at him, "Why don't you watch where you're going? Are you blind? Hellooo?"

The camera does a close up of her lips, and Dylan watches them for a moment before doing some simple sign language. "No, but I'm deaf." Yasmin gives him this weird, kind-of creeped out look, and says,

"What?" He repeats what he said - he's deaf, to which she replies snottily, "You don't sound deaf."

"Well, you don't look ignorant," is his response, "but I guess you can't judge a book, right?" And off he goes.

This was near the beginning of the movie, when I held out a weak hope that perhaps some moral fortitude could still be found. This could be good, I thought. A portrayal of a real, deaf teenager, going to high school, living life. This could spark some meaningful discussion about all sorts of good things - diversity, friendship, beauty, disability.

It didn't. One more chance encounter between Yasmin and Dylan (when he finds out that if he puts his hand on a speaker, he can sense her voice through a microphone) and suddenly they're now best friends and on the cusp of something more than friendship.

I won't lie - I really felt embarrassed to be the same age as them. Are teens really this shallow? Are our relationships really this meaningless? Are we really so wishy-washy, so fickle? And what about the movie's portrayal of affluence as the only acceptable way of life? Are we really this self-absorbed that we can see no one else? With Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel pumping out movies like this year after year, packaged with the same cheesy dialogue and bad acting, the portrayal of modern youth culture has taken a turn for the worse.

Teens are better than this. We're smarter than this, deeper than this, realer than this. This portrayal of us is a cheap and dirty imitation. The teens in Bratz were almost soulless. Everything about them screamed fake and surface-deep and on the intellectual level of brain candy. They simply weren't real. But we teens are. And so we need to take responsibility.

Culture has its own idea of how teenagers act - just see how Hollywood portrays teenage rebellions as normal, acting out in front of parents and minor acts of criminal deviance as nothing to worry about, trouble with school, trouble with relationships, arrogance, insecurity, self-absorption, carelessness - all things that are just part of the "teen years."

And some of it is true. Teenagers are sinners just like everyone else is a sinner, and we have different temptations and different sins than other generations. We can be arrogant and insecure and careless and rebel against our parents in disobedience. But for the Christian teen, these years are not meant to be marked by rebellion, but by faithfulness. Obedience over disobedience. Selflessness over self-absorption. It can be hard. But there is grace - found first at the cross, at the sacrifice given, and then at the tomb, with its reality realized.

Modern youth culture gets a bad rep. Teens' virtues, struggles, and deeper searches for meaning are besmeared with rebellion against parents and surface-deep pursuits. But teens can make a worthy rebellion against culture's "low expectations," as the Harris brothers put it, and embrace the counter-cultural calling to follow Christ. It is as simple as taking up your cross and following Him. It is a rebellion against modern youth culture.

Modern Youth Culture and the Plague of Affluence: Part 1

I have never seen a movie that portrays modern youth with such vain and shallow character as the movie Bratz (based on the line of girls dolls of the same name). Besides being a poorly done movie (with a paper-thin plot and one-dimensional characters), it is the depth of moral character and selfishness of affluence that really stunned me. The movie follows four best friends, all girls very well-off, starting high school and attempting to overcome the peer pressure of splitting up to join other cliques.

To the best of my knowledge, Bratz intends to send a deep-ish message - the bonds of true friendship defy the pressure to conform to a made-up social order. Unfortunately, that message gets swallowed up in the weakness of moral character of the girls presented, both in their affluence and their shallowness. Today I'll briefly highlight this plague of affluence:

The Plague of Affluence
I wonder why the writers of Bratz wanted to portray the four main girls in the way that they did. My guess is that it had nothing to do with sending a cultural message. Yet that's exactly what happened. Like I said before, these girls all live in nice suburban homes, and as the movie opens, are all video chatting on their computers about what to wear on their first day of high school. They each survey their walk-in closets jam-packed full of clothes and pick their outfits. So yes. They are your typical affluent youth.

But later in the movie, we get a "twist." They're invited to a big party and decide that they naturally all need new outfits. So they go shopping at a designer clothing store when suddenly, one of the girls, Cloe, whose mood has all-too-quickly sunk to the floor, gloomily announces,

I'm not going to Meredith's party, okay? I can't afford to buy anything new. You guys need to go without me.

We later find out that Cloe is raised by a single mom who is a caterer and is not even sure if she can put Cloe through college. Thus Cloe is now pitted as the sympathetic character. When I watched this for the first time, I actually wondered if it was supposed to be a joke. Now, granted, I have never been raised by a single mom, nor have I wondered if my parents could put me through college. I am not undermining that that is a difficult thing. But still. Cloe lives in a nice house, goes to a nice school, has a computer and a video camera, a walk-in closet full of clothes, and can't afford to buy a designer outfit - and she's supposed to be the mark of poverty?

This is the plague of affluence. We in North America have so much that when someone else has something more than us, we feel less-than. It is the hunt for materialism that consumes us - especially us teens. From the magazine covers to the Disney Channel, clothes and styles and toys and things grab at our attention. And though some of those things may not necessarily be bad, when they become our focus, they become idols. When our eyes widen with wonder at the gifts and close in boredom at their Maker, our affluence has suddenly cheated us.

In the end of Bratz, the girls perform in a talent show in order to win a college scholarship for Cloe, a valiant action that should be praised. Yet based on their actions throughout the rest of the movie, their obsession with shopping and clothes and parties and material goods, this action doesn't seem so genuine. The plague of their over-abundance of affluence has made this kindly act seem fake. And now perhaps the deepest point of the movie culminates in that another one of their affluent friends gets to go with them to a wealthy college. This is supposed to warm my heart?

But this post isn't really about Cloe or the rest of the "Bratz." It's about me, and it's about you. Though perhaps not as shallow in character as these girls (stay tuned for part two), we can be just as materialistic and consequently cheated by our affluence. We have so much, yet we want so much more. Why is that? It's because we're discontent with what we have, and we lack thankfulness to God. It's a stinging truth. We look at pictures of the slums in India, and we say, "Boy, am I thankful for all the stuff that I have!" But are we really? Or are we just so consumed with goods and dictated by social polity, that we feel obligated to say that? And now the guilt is alleviated.

But then we look back to those Indian slums, and we see Americans or Canadians wading through the muck, giving up all of their affluence to serve the poor and the weak, and they are singing hymns, full of joy. Are we really better off than them? Is our affluence a blessing or a curse? That's all a perspective. God has placed you where you are for a specific reason, and He has given you what you have for His glory. Is your attitude toward Him one of gratitude and worship? Or is it selfishness? And perhaps maybe you are called to give up more. Maybe you're called to sacrifice affluence for India. But maybe not. Maybe you're called to use your affluence right where you are to further the kingdom of God.

Is affluence a plague? It can be. But it can also be a great blessing. Look to God today with gratitude, seek His will, and use what you have for His glory. Reject the message of the Bratz, and embrace the hope of the gospel.

Going for Gold: The Olympics and Settling for Less

No one wants a bronze model. Okay, let me rephrase that. Given the opportunity to win gold, no one wants a bronze medal. In the face of "excellent," "pretty good" doesn't seem quite as spectacular. Tonight is the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, when thousands of athletes from all over the world will officially begin their quest for gold. They have just over two weeks and, for some, only days to earn that gold. But most will not win. Some will get medals, silver and bronze, but it is only the best who get gold, and the best ought not settle for anything less.

The approach of a massive international sporting event like the Olympics sparks many Christian analogies, particularly ones like "running to obtain the prize" as Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians 9 or "fighting the good fight and finishing the race" in 2 Timothy 2. Those can be worthwhile analogies. But I would rather draw your attention back to this idea of the gold medal and the refusal to settle for less. There is a worthy lesson to learn in it.

Christians have the joy of the gold medal before them every day. This gold medal is the gospel of Jesus Christ, the beautiful Truth with a capital "t" that marks the pinnacle of a Christian's joy. We live for the gospel, and we long for its culmination in the return of Jesus Christ. Yet every day we settle for less, pushing aside the glory of the golden gospel for cheap imitations not even as worthy as silver or bronze. These are the preschoolers' crayon drawings of medals, about as prestigious as ... nothing. These are the idols we forge in the factories of our heart - the TV, money, education, family, possessions. We put our hope in them, settling for the cheap thrills they give us, settling for far less than the golden gospel.

The Olympics is all about refusing to settle for less than gold. Yet athletes do. They smile with their bronze or their silver, but the Olympics is really all about the gold medal. No one pretends it isn't. And the Christian's life is all about the gospel. Don't settle for less. Don't be swayed by the temporary, the physical. Let your eyes be drawn above, and as you watch the athletes in these next few weeks compete for gold, know that you have a hope more beautiful than even this prestigious medal. Rejoice in the golden gospel, and never settle for less.

$80,000, Community Bingo and Big Dreams

A few nights ago, I had a dream that I won $80,000 from a community game of bingo at my local grocery store. I wondered only briefly what I would do with it before it started going. I gave a thousand dollars to the elderly lady I almost hit driving to bingo at the grocery store (why I was driving there by myself when my learner's strictly says I must have an adult in the car, I'll never know.) I think she was at bingo too. And then I gave another thousand dollars to a kind gentleman who helped me fill my car up with gas before bingo. (Now he was not at bingo, so I guess I must have tracked him down - yet I found him surprisingly fast. It was like a dream ...) Then I started giving money to my family. And finally I took my mom to Europe. And the $80,000 was gone. I had rejoiced in every penny spent, because dreams were coming true, but now that it was gone, an emptiness filled me.

Why do we associate money with happiness? Why do our big dreams always include us wealthy? Why do we think it wonderful to win a million (or eighty thousand) dollars? Before my dream I never thought that I was too obsessed with money - especially as this Christmas season of charity and gratitude is upon us. But dreams have ways of bringing vague notions swimming in our subconscious to bright, powerful images that have lasting effects on us. We remember them. And we wonder what was in our heads that made us dream them.

Maybe I wasn't obsessed with money before my dream, but it was still a blessed reminder that couldn't have come at a better time. Christmas is one of the most difficult times of year when we find ourselves focusing so much on the material we forget its true meaning. Whether it's money specifically we worry about or whether it's other things that money can buy or take away, we find ourselves blinded to the one thing money can't buy - the gift of Jesus Christ. The Incarnation. We can think we'll find joy in our money, but we won't. When the last of the $80,000 has been spent, our fleeting happiness is gone. Let us remember this, when the last gift has been bought, returned and a new gift has been re-bought: lasting joy comes only from Christ.

Worldview vs. Biblical View: Money

Money is an important topic to look at when it comes to these two clashing views - worldview vs. biblical view. So let's take a look at them ...

Worldview: Get it and Keep It

If aliens came down to earth from outer space right now, it wouldn't take them long to discover that money is a pretty big deal here. People kill for money. People stab backs for money. People pursue money. People will do anything to get money. And once they get it, ain't nothing gonna get in their way of keeping it, spending it how THEY want, and using it for THEIR purposes. They want to satisfy THEIR desires by spending it on things that glorify THEM.

Biblical View: Give it Away and Give it to God

As all other things when looked at under a biblical perspective, money centres around GOD. God is the giver of our money. He owns all our money. So when we give an offering at church, it's a way that we can give back to Him. He certainly doesn't need our money, but it shows our dependence on Him and gratitude to Him for all His blessings. As Christians, we don't pursue money, and we don't let money pursue us. We chase after God, and God alone. We heed Jesus' words when He said, "You cannot serve God and money," (Matthew 6:24) and Paul's advice to Timothy when he wrote, "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils." (1 Timothy 6:10) That does not mean the biblical view is that money is evil; simply that we don't worship money. We never let it become an idol or a stumbling block in our life. As Christians, we want to satisfy GOD'S desires by spending HIS money on things that glorify HIM.

Thus It Begins ...

It was yesterday around noon, that the jolly, fat man, dressed in red velvet and white fur, drove his sleigh down a chilly 34th Street in downtown New York City, thus officially ending the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and beginning the Christmas season.

It was today, beginning in most stores around 4 A.M. or earlier, as the busiest shopping day of the year descended upon us, thus ending Thanksgiving and beginning the holiday season.

Thus it begins ....

The buy-me-this-buy-me-that-gimme-gimme-get me-get me-I-want-more stigma has settled on America and Canada once again for the next month, as Christmas fast approaches. But as the craziness, the busyness, the frazzledness, the pure mayhem threatens to distort our true image of Christmas, I encourage you now, don't set your mind on what is on this earth (Colossians 3:2). Instead, lift your eyes to the humble manger where a sinless Baby lay. Lift your eyes to the cross, where that sinless Baby, who had become a holy, righteous Man, yet still the image of God, died for the sins of His people. Lift your eyes to the empty tomb, where that Man rose from the dead and conquered sin and death. And lift your eyes to the heavens, where Christ Jesus reigns victoriously at the right hand of the Father.

So as the busy holiday season begins, let's remember, my friends, to "set ... our minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth." (Colossians 3:2)

No U-Hauls Behind Hearses

I'm reading "Desiring God" by John Piper right now and am thoroughly enjoying it! Here's a quote from a wonderful chapter entitled: "Money: The Currency of Christian Hedonism."
"In [1 Timothy 6:7, Paul] ... says 'For we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.' There are no U-Hauls behind hearses. Suppose someone passes empty-handed through the turnstile at a big-city art museum and begins to take the pictures off the wall and carry them importantly under his arm. You come up to him and say, "What are you doing?
      He answers, "I'm becoming an art collector."
      "But they're not really yours," you say, "and besides, they won't let you take any of those out of here. You'll have to go out just like you came in."
      But he answers, "Sure they're mine. I've got them under my arm. People in the halls look at me as an important dealer. And I don't bother myself with thoughts about leaving. Don't be a killjoy."
      We would call this man a fool! He is out of touch with reality. So is the person who spends himself to get rich in this life. We will go out just the way we came in.
      Or picture 269 people entering eternity through a plane crash in the Sea of Japan. Before the crash, there are a noted politician, a millionaire corporate executive, a playboy and his playmate. and a missionary kid on the way back from visiting his grandparents. After the crash, they stand before God utterly stripped of Mastercards, checkbooks, credit lines, image clothes, how-to-succeed books, and Hilton reservations. Here the politician, the executive, the playboy, and the missionary kid, all on even ground with nothing, absolutely nothing, in their hands, possessing only what they brought in their hearts. How absurd and tragic the lover of money will seem on that day - like a man who spends his whole life collecting train tickets and in the end is so weighed down by the collection that he misses the last train. Don't spend your precious life trying to get rich, Paul says, 'for we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of the world.'"