I've been reading a lot about people "underwater" with their mortgages. The newspapers seem to report about people who bought $300,000 to $500,000 houses, added additions, borrowed against their home equity, etc. and suddenly can't afford them due to one circumstance or another, or the value of their house is less than their mortgage and they can't move, etc. That stinks. On the other hand, how many of these people did not anticipate a loss in salary, injury, need to move, or simply bought too big a house? It is hard for me to feel sympathy for some of these people. I think the days of living beyond our means is over. It's a shame we can't count of the equity in our houses as an investment anymore, but times change, and things fall apart.
It reminds me of the parable of the wise and foolish virgins:
Now the kingdom of heaven may be compared to ten virgins, who took their lamps, and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. But at midnight there was a shout, "Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him." Then all these virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. Now the foolish said to the prudent, "Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out." But the prudent answered saying, "No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves." Now while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. Later the other virgins also came, saying, "Lord, Lord, open up for us." But he answered them and said, "Truly I say to you, I do not know you." Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.
The thing that strikes me in this parable is that it seems almost uncharitable (un-Christian?) for the wise virgins to not share what they have in order to help the other virgins. The oil seems to be "non-transferable."
But is this not true of our spiritual "investments?" That is, those who put in the time and effort of developing a relationship with God so that on the day of judgment, God will recognize and welcome them in to the kingdom? Who spent their time in prayer and penance and living for God rather than other worldly pursuits? These things develop our spiritual character. And character is not transferable--we cannot lend it to others who have been unwise in not 'investing" in the Spirit. It's like someone who works out for months in a gym and someone who sits on their ass asking them "give me some of your muscle." It doesn't work like that. God holds us accountable. We reap what we sow; it's kind of a law.
So don't be a stupid virgin. Be a smart virgin. Live within your means, and trust in God for your "investments" to pay off.