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A couple of weeks ago someone told me that I was spoilt for choice! It wasn’t about anything fantastic – in fact I was trying to decide on buying a new t-shirt online. And it was true the choice that I had was absolutely enormous. Pages and pages of options which in actual fact made the choosing all the harder. Colours, patterns, slogans and pictures more or less anything I wanted. And the funniest thing about it really was that the t-shirt wasn’t even for me. A present for someone else.
The use of the word spoilt made me think however. Spoilt to me has a negative air about it, it suggests that it is something that I shouldn’t have. If I’m spoilt do I have too much, maybe that comes from my childhood understanding and a sense that being spoilt somehow isn’t what you want to be.
It would be fair to say that on special occasions such as birthdays, Christmas and other important days, I have been able to spoil family members and friends because I have the resources to be able to. I am lucky enough to have had a good job and been rewarded with a good salary/pension for the work that I have done. As a result I have what would be described as being a comfortable lifestyle. I also have most of the things that I could want in material terms, extras I could consider to be luxuries. So perhaps in relation to many others I am spoilt!
But, what needs to be considered isn’t about whether or not I have wealth, it is more about, what do I do with the wealth that I have? It is probably fair to say that anybody who has more than they absolutely need has a degree of wealth.
Another word we might use in place of wealth is rich. How would we determine if somebody is rich? Earlier this year I included the following quotation in a homily
that I gave.
“I saw a small quotation on social media the other day which really made me think, and put this into perspective:
If I have a choice about what clothes to wear.
If I have a choice about what meal to eat.
If I have a choice to turn the heating up or down.
If I have a choice of which room to sit in.
Let me not forget how rich I really am!”
All of the choices I have, make up my everyday life, so much so that I don’t even consciously think about them, I just take them for granted. There are many people, even just on our doorstep that can only dream and wish for the opportunity to be able to make those choices. And then going further afield those less fortunate than me are found in every corner of the world. Even if I can’t reach out to them personally, there are other organisations that will do this on my behalf, if I support them to do so.
So, when I stop and consider again, “Am I spoilt?” I can only conclude that in comparison with many others then, Yes I am! I am blessed in so many areas of my life, truly in so many ways I am rich. And as such I should be grateful and thank God for all that I have. I may argue that I have earned these things, but without the opportunities, skills and talents given to me I wouldn’t have them.
There is nothing inherently wrong in this, but as a follower of Christ I am called to think about and aid those less fortunate than myself. There are many examples in the Gospels where Christ directs us to consider how wealth and riches, in material terms, can be used for the good of others. It is interesting to note that those who have the wealth aren’t condemned because they are rich, what causes the problem is how the riches are used. Money can be a force for good as well as bad, the key is how it is used.
How I use my wealth/riches, that must be my concern? But when was the last time I reflected on this aspect of my life?
Deacon Ian Black