iPads, money, Bonhoeffer and worrying

    25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?
   28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt. 6:25-34)
I haven’t spent money I got at Christmas and I recently got a gift of some cash that adds to that money I have had since Christmas. The thing is though, having it stresses me out – seriously. I feel that I have to spend it – I’m worrying that I have enough (or perhaps too much) rather than to little.
I said this to my Mum just the other day,
I may just buy an iPad to get rid of it because I can’t handle having it.
I’m not proud of saying that (not least because I’m talking about buying a pretty pointless piece of technology).
In a brilliant critique of my words I read this from ch. 6 of Discipleship by DietrichBonhoeffer just after I said those words to my Mum,
Do not worry! Earthly good deceive the human heart into believing that they give it security and freedom from worry. But in truth, they are the choking burden of worry. Worry collects treasures, and treasures produce more worries. We desire to secure our lives with earthly goods; we want our worrying to make us worry-free, but the truth is the opposite. The chains which bind us to earthly goods, the clutches which hold the good tight, are themselves worries. (165)
Those words hit home pretty hard. I mean, I’m actually stressing out about having money!! How weird is that? But it says an awful lot, it leads to important questions like, “why am I worrying about having money to spend?” or, “why is my impulse to buy something insultingly expensive that I have no real need of for the sake of ‘securing my life’?”
We want our worrying to make us worry-free
I want to spend my money to stop my worrying about what to spend my money on
– that is not a solution; it’s pretty damn stupid. It utterly fails to deal with the
situation and problem of my worrying – it delays it.
“Don’t worry about money, clothes, food, drink etc. all kinds of animals get just what they need without worry; why should you?” That is Jesus’ point – I miss that, often. Jesus asks to us to just be. Just be today, stop projecting, dreaming and planning solutions.
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
Enjoy what you have (or don’t have) and be sensible with (in) it – don’t spend frivolously but neither store up all kinds of stuff you don’t need. Just be – deal with the nonsense you are right now and stop dreaming and initiating crappy solutions – like buying an iPad.
These are my impromptu 20 mins of typed rambling. It is mostly an exercise in self-reflection – I am only slightly apologetic for that.
Question though, do you find this true of you? Worrying about what you don’t have? Worrying about actually being able to afford stuff? Worrying about what to get for the sake of ceasing worry? Are you able to ‘just be’?