Finding treasure

Katherine Rainger
Rev Katherine Rainger

By Rev Katherine Rainger, Chaplain

Decluttering, minimalism and hoarding have become familiar words. The phenomenon of celebrity de-clutterers, YouTube organisers, and professionals who work with people to create life-giving homes and workplaces has highlighted our complicated relationship with ‘stuff’.

This week’s Gospel reading (Mark 10.17-31) also raises questions about our relationship with ‘stuff’. A man approaches Jesus and asks how he can inherit eternal life. Jesus affirms the goodness of God alone and encourages the man to keep the Ten Commandments. The man replies that he has kept all these since his youth.

Jesus then tells the man to sell everything that he has and give it to those who need it, then follow him so that the man ‘will have treasure in heaven’.

How did the man respond to this challenging call? With shock and grief because he had many possessions! The man leaves the scene. We are not told what he decided to do. However, Jesus’ next words to his disciples give us a clue, ‘How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the Kingdom of God!’

It is now the disciples’ turn to be shocked! How can anyone find salvation? Jesus responds: ‘For human beings it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible’.

Jesus’ conversation about extreme minimalism is not one that we often hear Christians in a hurry to take literally! This passage is meant to shock and perhaps grieve us as well. At the same time, we read it within the context of the whole witness of Scripture where generosity, being wise with money, the trappings of greed, and justice and equality for the marginalised are all paramount. Jesus’ earthly mission was funded by wealthy women who became followers (Luke 8: 1-3).

So how might Jesus’ words be a word for us today? Perhaps being honest about our relationship with ‘stuff’ and how we can use what we have as a blessing rather than a burden. We are invited to contemplate the eternal treasure that Jesus talks about, the costly nature of the way of Jesus, and the grace of God that is ever present.

Robyn’s story

There is also wisdom in acknowledging the blessing and connection that our possessions can bring. Robyn shares her discovery of her mother’s handwritten recipe book which had been lost. This brought much joy and hope to Robyn and her housemates in lockdown.

You can read Robyn’s story here and even make Robyn’s mum’s muesli cookies.

Youth Art Competition

Anti-Poverty Week 2021 Youth Art Competition

Next week is Anti-Poverty Week and many events are taking place. As co-chairs Emma Campbell (CEO of ACTCOSS) and Jenny Kitchin (CEO of Woden Community Services) explain, ‘1 in 8 Australians live below the poverty line and 1 in 6 Australian children below the age of 14 live in poverty. The ACT accounts for at least 9000 of those children’. Income support and housing are seen as crucial elements for addressing those impacted by poverty and the pandemic.

Anti-Poverty Week focuses on creating a brighter future for everyone. One of the activities happening is a Youth Art Competition for under 18s living in the ACT. To find out more and to enter, click here.

The theme of the art competition is ‘Hopes for My Future’.

May the God of abundant love, peace and hope be with you this week.

Blessings,

Rev. Katherine

Anti-poverty Week

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