It would appear that, Eastbourne, as the rest of the country is not immune to the effects of
as loo rolls, soap and hand sanitizer become scarce. There is in humankind a selfish streak, as a result of The Fall, which can cause people to 'look out for number 1' in the event of a crisis. The problem with this attitude is that imagined scarcity becomes real scarcity as more and more people follow the crowd and bulk buy essentials.
Society becomes divided between those who have the money and ability to stock up and those on low incomes and those with vulnerabilities who can't do so. In times of crisis societies can fragment, like ours seems to be doing, or unite against adversity as communities have done courageously in the
. The gospel has something to say to us about hoarding goods or wealth. In the gospel according to Luke, Jesus tells the parable of the rich fool:
The Parable of the Rich Fool 13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” 16 Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. 17 And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ 18 Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ 20 But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”
Luke 12:13-21 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
We can't preserve our lives by stockpiling food or hoarding soap or hiding loo roll away. It might help us feel in control but that feeling is illusory. That behaviour is sinful because it deprives the vulnerable in our community of items that are sitting unused in someone else's cupboard. When people clear the shelves in their Tesco local it means that those elderly in our area who rely on small daily trips are left without. It means that the excessive amount of pasta squirrelled away in the hoarder's cupboard could be feeding a family or be distributed through the foodbank to those on the poverty line.
If we take far more than we can use in a futile bid to save our own skin at the expense of others we put ourselves in the position of the rich fool and like the rich fool we might end up hearing God say to us,
‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’
Don't be greedy, give to the needy!