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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Stuff and Treasures

So, from Fight Club we learned that "The things you own end up owning you." There is a remarkable parallel with Jesus' words: Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

We generally think that we invest our lives, time, energy, money, etc. in the things that are important to us - and, of course, that is true. We do buy things that are meaningful, spend time with people who are important in our lives, and invest our energy in careers, charities, etc. that seem worthwhile.

But this is not the lesson from Jesus or Fight Club. The things you own end up owning you. That is the reverse of how we normally view our investments. The point is that there is a sense of a lack of control. What we surround ourselves with - the stuff we own, the people we hang with, the jobs we work, etc. - begins to dominate our thoughts and attitudes and heart and mind. In Fight Club the object was to rebel against and destroy the consumer-driven culture that had tightened its grip on people's lives by sucking all of their investments into marketing schemes - to always be in search of the newest device, or that perfect table set, or the statement wardrobe. The heroes of Fight Club believed that such a culture had so engrossed people that it was only to completely rip away and destroy the system that there was any hope.

I see a somewhat similar line of thought in Jesus' words. Our treasure is that in which we have invested ourselves. These investments represent our priorities. But what we invest it will turn around and end up dominating us. As human beings we do not have the luxurey of being purely objective and picking out the things that are important to us. Those things we invest in end up turning around and locking us into a system of thoughts and actions and feelings. The things that we own end up owning us.

It's not so much that we invest our hearts into our treasures. It's that our treasures turn around and grab ahold of our hearts. We are desinged, by nature, to respond to our treasures. Our treasures own us.