More Than Uncertain Riches

I have a lot of clothes for a man. It’s not that I’m a shopaholic – more like a bargain hunter. You would struggle to find an item in my collection that cost me more than $10. One of the shirts my wife hates is the one I call my woman repellent – it’s a white shirt that has a large, neon pink tiger’s face on it that I got for the sole reason it cost a dollar fifty. I wear it to the gym. It’s also not that I’m vain or trendy – I don’t particularly care what a pair of pants or a shirt looks like, so long as it is modest. At least 1/3 (probably more like 1/2) of what I own was given to me second hand, which means I have several “retro” items, which only incidentally are trendy from time to time. Both what I’ve received and what I’ve bought is compounded by the fact that I can’t bear to throw away an article of clothing until it is literally too worn to wear – I don’t believe in waste.

In discussing this phenomenon which I only recently realized, my wife came to the conclusion (in her words), that I was the kind of guy who likes to store up his nuts for winter. I reckon that I come by it honestly. After my grandfather passed away, I visited my grandmother and helped to haul some of the junk my grandfather accumulated in his life to the dump. Among the things I found was a bucket that held about 27 used broomsticks. Where Grandpa got all those broomsticks and what he planned to do with them, I’ll never know on this side of eternity – but I’m sure he had something in mind.

There’s nothing wrong with the pack rat instinct. I think some people are born with it, while others who’ve lived through hard times develop it. There is something wrong with thinking you can protect yourself from calamity by accumulating possessions or that your possessions can save you.

Paul put it this way, “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). Don’t overlook this passage just because you think you’re not rich – if you’re reading this from the comfort of a home (rented or owned) in a western society, you are rich! Don’t miss the message either about riches – there’s nothing certain about them. Jesus added, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Matthew 6:19, 20).

I doubt any thieves would be too inclined to steal anything I own, but the threat of moths in the old house in which we live is very real. While I hope to get several years use out of my clothing collection (I have even consigned myself to not buying any clothes for several years barring some disaster) and even have begun to pass on some items to others as others did for me, I know that it can all be gone in an instant. Honestly, it wouldn’t bother me. I’m thankful that God provided them, but more thankful that because of Him I have more than uncertain riches – I have a Saviour who is preparing me a heavenly home (John 14:1-3).



Patrick Swayne was married to Chantelle Marie (Herd) in 2009. Patrick began preaching first as a part time minister and then as a full time minister in the state of Tennessee (2003-2007). He was serving as a minister in Australia, working primarily with the Church Street church of Christ in Melbourne, Australia (2008-2012). He has received formal training from Memphis School of Preaching (class of 2005), Walters State Community College (A.S.), and Amridge University (B.A.). He is currently doing post graduate work at Freed Hardeman University. He counts himself richly blessed by the Lord.


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