The other day I watched this film, Everything Must Go:
In this film, Nick Hasley (played by Will Ferrell, think “Stranger Than Fiction,” rather than “Saturday Night Live”) loses his job and his wife leaves him, locking him out of the house and putting all of his things out on the front lawn. Not having anywhere else to go, Nick ends up camping out on his front lawn, sleeping in his recliner. (Don’t read the next paragraph if you don’t want the film ending spoiled.)
As a preacher, the first thing that came to me when I heard the premise of the movie was, “oh, that’s just like Job.” You know, someone loses everything, but doesn’t lose faith, and so they end up getting back everything they had and more. Well, it turns out while Job cursed his fate, but never cursed God, Nick curses everything and profoundly gives up. While Job turns to his friends for support, Nick doesn’t have anyone and so garners support of his neighbors by manipulation and pays a neighborhood kid to help him to seem like he’s having a garage sale. At first he’s insistent that he doesn’t want to leave his stuff, but he gradually gives up, and settles into having to starting over. He sells nearly everything and then his wife agrees to give him back the house and split their money. At the end we see him walking through his mostly empty house. In a way, he is like Job, but without a relationship with God to give him comfort and hope. Instead, his transformation comes from utter despair. Which brings up a larger question: When you’ve lost everything, what do you have left?
A song that keeps playing through my head when I think about that is, “Everything is Borrowed,” by the Streets:
There’s something terribly sad and beautiful about this song, made more poignant by the all to true to life example of a foreclosure shown in this video. The chorus repeats, “I came to this world with nothing, And I leave with nothing but love. Everything else is just borrowed”
Scripture says something similar in Matthew 6:19-34:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
As I am awaiting a call to a ministerial position, there are all sorts of worries that creep up in my mind. Worries about where I will be, what I’ll be doing, how I will fill in the blanks of friendships and housing and the things of starting a new life. This movie, this song, and especially this scripture help remind me that my treasure is in heaven and that God will be with me through the work of figuring out each detail of what is to come.