Have you ever considered we might well be possessed by our possessions? Granted, we’re talking for the most part about inanimate objects rather than living and breathing entities.
Let me give you a personal example. Upon returning from a second shorter tour of duty in Vietnam, I paid cash for a new vehicle. My dream car delivered just two weeks after my return was a 1968 British racing green Pontiac Firebird 400 convertible.
I loved and cherished that car. It was my precious possession and became a big part of my identity! After several expensive repairs, I ended up selling it in 1975 for a paltry $700.
Perhaps the increasing cost of gas somewhat motivated my purchase of a more practical mode of transportation. Yes, I was possessed by that car until it became too costly to maintain.
Perhaps the greatest literary fictional example of being possessed by a possession is found in J.R.R. Tolkien’s trilogy, The Lord of the Rings. The character Sméagol, also known as Gollum, epitomizes the world’s potential obsession for an inanimate object.
In the trilogy, we see the lost Ring of Mordor becoming the obsessive desire of this mythical creature. All Sméagol’s energies are directed toward recovering the Ring at any cost. In time, the Ring leads to his demise.
We also see Bilbo Baggins nearly being possessed as well. Fortunately, Bilbo was able to somewhat distance himself from the power of the Ring by keeping it in his vest pocket.
So, what possesses you? Some are mesmerized by precious stones or precious metals. Others are enticed by power, prestige and the wealth that might follow.
I could go on and on, but I believe you get the picture. Here’s the point: Any of these things can become so important that we’ll do almost anything to keep our precious possessions in our grasp. God’s Word has much to say on this subject.
Let’s start by listening to the words of Solomon found in Proverbs 8:9-12: “Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare to her. ‘I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion.’”
Now there’s an interesting concept — possessing knowledge and discretion is what’s most valuable. This passage from Proverbs warns us to not place our desires on what seems precious in the world.
In Matthew 19:16-22, we read of Jesus being confronted by a rich young man: “Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, ‘Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?’ ‘Why do you ask me about what is good?’ Jesus replied. ‘There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.’ ‘Which ones?’ the man inquired. Jesus replied, ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother and love your neighbor as yourself.’ ‘All these things I have kept,’ the young man said. ‘What do I still lack?’”
Here’s what’s most important: “Jesus answered, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.”
What I’ve come to understand more and more as I face life head on is this: The things of this world are really not that important. I also now understand that I don’t really own/possess any of the things that surround me. It all truly belongs to my Heavenly Father.
Let us learn from Tolkien and God’s Word that we must not get caught up in the things of this world. We must strive to draw near to our Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit. That’s the greatest possession of all!
Passages to Ponder
— Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent in Santa Barbara. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his personal relationship with God, and his goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. As a longtime member of CBMC of Santa Barbara (Christian Business Men’s Connection), he started writing Fourth Quarter Strategies columns in 2014, and he now reaches an international audience through the CBMC International devotional Monday Manna. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.