Recently my boyfriend and I visited a famous mansion and estate of a deceased rich man’s family. I couldn’t help but ponder the concept of “excess.”
There were about 20 bathrooms and bedrooms, and so many other rooms to live in - a living room, family room, man cave, morning room, breakfast room, powder room, dining room, sunroom and so forth. The estate had multiple exquisite gardens, patios, a lagoon, a tennis court, and even a greenhouse.
There’s no question, this place was like a resort. You didn’t even need to venture outside of it!
But it also called to mind some practical spiritual questions and problems at the root of excess:
- Is there an excess of something in your home or life? What is it and why is there an excess?
- Do you really want to be well known for your stuff and the things you own? What is noble about that?
- Do you actually use all that you have? If you don’t, it’s possible that you really don’t need it.
- Think about how much time and energy it takes to maintain that you could do more purposeful things with.
- Does your excess isolate you from others? Do you spend more time with your stuff than you do engaging with the community around you?
- Could your excess be given to others who don’t have enough of what you have an excess of? For example, clothes or furniture.
- Is “more begetting more” in your life? Often, the more we get, the more we want and it’s never enough. Do you feel a sense of “never enough”?
- How is excess affecting you spiritually? Have you come to rely on your own resources vs. God’s?
- Are you grateful for God’s gifts to you? Do you see your excess as God’s gift? Or perhaps a misuse of his gift? How do you use your gifts for God’s glory?
In a culture that values excess, perhaps these are questions we all need to ask ourselves continuously.