One of the lesser known sayings of Jesus is this: Don’t hoard treasure where it gets eaten by moths, corroded by rust, or–worse!–stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while now, you’ll know that I’ve been constructing a gentleman’s wardrobe as a 5-Year project. The first quinquennium ran from 2008-2012 and the mission was accomplished. Or so I thought. I even put up a Mission Accomplished post.However, I now recognise that I am in a second quinquennium, a second 5-year project, if you will, to improve the wardrobe I constructed in the first 5 years. I’ve just completed 3 years of the second quinquennium, so I’ve been at this 5-year project for over 8 years now.
The outcome of 8 years of wardrobe building is that I now have a wardrobe that is of wider range, better quality, deeper diversity, and, indeed, greater quantity, than at any other stage of my life. It’s great. However, for the first time it crossed my mind the other day, what would I do if for whatever reason it was all gone?
It’s not as though this is a far fetched possibility. In multiple areas across the North of England only a few months ago, just before Christmas, thousands of homes were flooded. People lost everything.
Let’s hold in our thoughts and prayers those who are victims of the floods and who are living with the after effects of the devastation.
Now to be fair, if I were in that situation, having just lost the house and the car to flood waters, I’m probably not going to be too concerned about how many pairs of brogues perished in the flood. At least I hope not…. After all, a 5YP is not that important in the grand scheme of things. I presume those who are victims of a house fire face similar devastation. Let’s hold in our thoughts and prayers those who are victims of the floods and who are living with the after effects of the devastation.
However, it also struck me that one needed something less extreme than disaster to wreak havoc on a carefully constructed 5YP. A particularly well dressed friend of mine has just gone off to do a 5 year stint in Asia. It struck me that if we were to relocate to the tropics (a man can dream can’t he?), whether for a few years, or permanently, I reckon over half of my wardrobe would become redundant at a stroke.
Shirts would be fine. They’re all made of cotton, and would work in tropical climes. Similarly, cotton chinos would translate well. However, trousers and blazers made of wool, corduroy or moleskin, would become redundant. You’d overheat constantly.
Unfortunately, that’s most of the collection….
I’ve no idea whether my friend chose to put his rather impressive wardrobe into storage, had a massive garage sale, or made a rather significant contribution to his local charity shops. Whatever he did, he’s rather suddenly found himself in a situation whereby his wardrobe is now mostly useless. And if he chose storage, for 5 years, he may find that he has a major moth problem when he opens it in 2020. Which brings me back to that saying of Jesus….
In his day, people with wealth didn’t keep it in the bank. There were no banks and there was precious little money. So wealth was accumulated in stuff. Costly fabrics like silk, were ways of investing and demonstrating wealth, small or great. If you could trade for gold or silver or gems that was also good; your wealth was portable in case of fire or flood. But that created a different problem; portable wealth was susceptible to burglary. So in summary, moths might ruin your wealth or burglars might nick your stuff. Hence, the advice not to hoard treasure where it is susceptible to moth, rust, or burglars.
I’ve certainly never really thought about my 5YP as a treasure hoard. At the end of the day, it’s just clothes man. They wear out, periodically need replacing, and given that we all need clothing, one might as well make sure it’s stylish. In addition, one should also make adequate preparation for moths….
However, now I’m not so sure I haven’t begun to see the 5YP as a hoard. In this second quinquennium, I have finally got to the stage where I am gradually Improving the Quality. So I now have nice stuff, whereas before I had primarily nice looking stuff that was pretty uniformly cheap. The 5YP is certainly more valuable than it was 3 years ago. So I’ve got some thinking to do, methinks. The danger about possessing things is that it carries the risk that eventually we are possessed by the things we think we possess. I hope I’m not kidding myself, but I don’t think I am in that position. Yet.
I certainly don’t want to be the guy who hoards treasure that is susceptible to moths (clothes), or rust (fancy car?), or burglary. Such a person is both shortsighted and shallow.
Me, I want to be the guy who may well enjoy a 5YP, appreciates style, but keeps it in context. It’s not the most important thing, spending on oneself needs to be preceded by giving to others, and spirituality needs to be nurtured with care.
Basically, I’m saying I want to be the guy who stockpiles treasure in heaven….