A wealthy plantation owner invited John Wesley to his home. The two rode their horses all day, seeing just a fraction of all the man owned. At the end of the day the plantation owner proudly asked, “Well, Mr. Wesley, what do you think?” After a moment’s silence, Wesley replied, “I think you’re going to have a hard time leaving all this.”
Ever since I first read of it, this scene has stayed with me, and the final line particularly so. Wesley’s reply comes to mind when I’m tempted to purchase image-boosting possessions, or when I find myself fighting the allure of (and subsequent bondage to) all the shiny baubles our modern world offers.
The quote reminds me that one of the saddest parts about possession-collecting is that we think we’re gaining happiness when we’re actually only dumbing down our taste buds. We believe we’re satiating our desires when we’re really only deadening our senses. We are meant to taste true joy. Joy now, in an abiding relationship with Jesus, and in the soon yet-to-come, as we see Him face to face.
We were not created to rush after the counterfeit. We were created for the Real.
God knows that we desperately need to be filled with a sense of His sure love for us, to be enamored with His kingdom and delighted with the pleasure of knowing Him (those are all part of the Real.) Only then — when we’re tempted to order that item we’re sure will make us happy, or as we stand in the check-out line with new baubles in our cart — will we see the idiocy of settling for earthly kingdoms built on paltry substitutes.
Pray He’ll use this quote to remind you when you need reminding, and convict you when you need convicting — because it’s scary to think what it might mean if, at the end of the day, we’d have a hard time leaving all this.
Painting: At the end of the day by George Cole (1810-1883)
John Wesley story and quote: Randy Alcorn recounts this scene in his book Eternal Perspectives.
For more on possessions and money: Do my possessions cause you to stumble?