Sat., May 27, 2017
Matthew 6:19 – Don’t store up treasures on earth! Moths and rust can destroy them, and thieves can break in and steal them.
The last several weeks, my life has been filled with sorting and cleaning out. In preparation for the Youth Mission Trip Garage Sale we held at our house last weekend, I went through things moved to our current house 18 months ago. Items I had not determined if I wanted to keep or not. I remember the very warm day we unloaded the moving truck at our current home. Lots of church folks helped us move our possessions into this house. I remember the overwhelming and embarrassing feeling of having way too much stuff. I knew this when we loaded the truck. Out of time, it had simply been boxed up and moved. Watching box after box be unloaded, I vowed not move this much stuff again.
Our things were put into two rooms on moving day. Right before Christmas, I finished cleaning out the downstairs room. For months, it was nearly impossible to walk through the upstairs room. Slowly, the little path became bigger and bigger. While not completely empty yet, inventory has been greatly reduced. Some went on the garage sale and sold. Other items await Salvation Army pick-up.
I’ve also been helping clean out my Mom’s apartment. She moved into this apartment three years ago. At the time, we cleaned out the house my parents had lived in for 20+ years. This was nearly overwhelming, including boxes moved from our family farm 20+ years earlier that had never been gone through. I hauled carloads of stuff from my Mom’s house to our house in Mazomanie, lacking time to go through them. Many of these boxes have now been moved to our Poynette house. I am still going through them. In this most recent downsizing for my Mom, we have been amazed how much stuff my Mom tucked away in her apartment. Again, we’ve gone through choosing what to keep, what items family members take and what to get rid of.
Through this whole process, I’ve contemplated many things:
- We can learn a lot about ourselves and others going through a person’s stuff.
- It’s hard to watch a loved one choose things for just one room. There has been a fair bit of angst. We’ve kept more than this for Mom. “Things” are quite important to her.
- The time, energy and effort that goes into sorting stuff. I could have read several good books, taken many bike rides or long walks or completely changed the landscaping of our current home.
- The shared history of telling stories while going things.
- I’ve purposely gifted a few things. I gave some super cute salt and pepper shakers to my friend’s daughter. Another friend showed me quilt pieces she had pieced together using fabric I gifted her. It brings joy to see others loving this stuff.
- Rick has spent months cleaning out his parent’s farm and house. We’ve challenged ourselves to only keep items really meaningful or super cool. Like the double washer tubs and stand Rick saved for me.
- The resources used to accumulate this stuff. Some items are family treasures passed from generation to generation. I’m not ready to get rid of my great-great grandmother’s milk white glasses. Yet, I think of the vacations, opportunities to help others or other ways the represented resources could have been utilized.
- The most important lesson of all: I pray my life is about more than “stuff.” I pray the treasure of heaven far exceeds even my most prized possessions. I pray relationships with other people override my attachment to material things. I pray I can keep a healthy perspective of earthly possessions versus heavenly possessions.
I’m still not done sorting through my Mom’s or my own stuff but I’m making progress. Each filled box that is donated or bag put into the garbage makes me feel lighter. Most importantly, I pray possessions do not become more important than my relationship with God.
Heavenly God – why do we choose to fill our lives with so much “stuff” rather than seeking you? Why do choose to let things of this world become more important than listening to your call in our lives? Help us to keep the appropriate perspective of earthly treasures versus our heavenly treasure. Amen.
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