Lotus of the Heart > Path of Spirit > On Greed

 
 

Sand Castles Swept Away

An Insatiable Gulf

Jun 4, 2009


Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world, so that [some ancient texts read “for sure” or “it is certain that"] we can take nothing out of it; but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these.

*I Timothy 6.6-8 (NRSV)

* * *

Stay with me, Lord, for I desire to love You
very much, and always be in Your company.

*Padre Pio. From "Stay with Me Lord." Prayer after Holy Communion.

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Our covetousness is an insatiable gulf, if it be not restrained; and the best bridle is, when we desire nothing more than the necessity of this life demands; for the reason why we transgress the bounds, is, that our anxiety extends to a thousand lives which we falsely imagine. Nothing is more common, and indeed nothing is more generally acknowledged, than this statement of Paul; but as soon as all have acknowledged it, (as we see every day with our eyes,) every man swallows up with his wishes his vast possessions, in the same manner as if he had a belly able to contain half of the world.

In order, therefore, that we may be satisfied with a sufficiency, let us learn to have our heart so regulated, as to desire nothing but what is necessary for supporting life.

*John Calvin. Commentary on Timothy, Titus, Philemon.

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A Buddhist story tells of children on a beach. Each one made sand castles and said, “This one is mine. Don’t touch it.” Each defended her sand castle and would not let another child stand nearby.

One child came to a sand castle in curiosity and kicked it over, destroying it. The child who had made the sand castle, in a rage began to beat the other child. She called out to the other children, “Look, my castle is destroyed! Help me punish him, giving him what he deserves!”

The other children came over and joined in beating the child. They hit him with sticks and kicked him, until he lay motionless.

Then, each child returned to her own sand castle, began building it, and saying to any child who came near, “Stay away! This is mine! Don’t touch my sand castle!”

Evening approached and darkness began to settle over the beach. Each of the children thought about going home. Some kicked over the castle. Some mashed the castle with hands. Some walked off and left the castle, having lost interest in it.

One by one the children returned home. By dark, the tide had come in and washed the castles away.

How would applying I Timothy 6.6-8 seriously to your life possibly alter your priorities? Your investment of money? Of time? Your relationships with others? With God?

 

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