As I wrapped some crystal in bubble wrap for our move to North Carolina, I stopped to consider how often I actually use it and how much we were paying to move all our stuff to a new location. The move took weeks of packing and many weeks of unpacking and finding new places to store all the stuff.
Many of these things are family heirlooms and I am sentimental. While none of these things are more important to me than my relationship with God (idolatry), I began to wonder if they might be potential stumbling blocks.
While unpacking, I also decided that I had a sinful amount of clothing. I am pretty good about donating unused items to charitable organizations, but got the feeling I might also be hoarding some clothes that I will never wear. Quite a few still had tags on them. Others had only been worn once or twice. Now, the defensive part of my brain kicked in and really wanted to justify the purchases. I could try to rationalization that because it is often difficult to find clothes that are comfortable, yet stylish that I have to grab great pieces when I can (never mind that I already have more than enough).
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
My mother-in-law once told me that you spend the first half of your life accumulating things and the last half getting rid of them. Irene has been gone for seven years now, but those particular words have come to mind many times over the years. Already, I have found that to be so true. The more you age, the more cumbersome your things become. Have you found that even your stuff needs stuff? Ever get exhausted after a day of shopping for stuff?
It got me wondering, is my giving proportionate to what I keep? I am a pretty giving person, but how does my giving measure up to my keeping? How often do my eyes wander carelessly past those in need?
But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 1 John 3:17
Most of us don’t consider ourselves wealthy. In this economy, we are more inclined to focus on our losses or perceived needs. I came across an interesting website that compares your income and wealth on a worldwide scale: www.leastof.org. I dare you to try it. It will give you a whole new perspective.
How wealthy are you? What are you willing to let go of? Is your heart open to those in need?
The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” – Jesus, in Matthew 25:40