I love productive days. I’ve had this box of loose “stuff” that I started gathering when we moved my mom out of my childhood home. Needless to say, those were busy years for me…teenagers in the house, grandchildren being born in MI, Mama needing lots of time, husband trying to start a business, so I added more “stuff” to that box. Today, I got through the top assortment of “stuff”, and I feel as if the back room has a new lightness to it.
“… keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls.” 1 Peter 2:11
“Stuff” does get in the way we see things and sometimes clouds our judgement. After I returned to my home town, I made the mistake of cleaning up an area around my mom’s chair. Mom threatened to disown me if I every touched one of her magazines or books again. She was right. It was her stuff to get rid of – not mine. Mom collected and kept most everything; she was a card carrying member of the original re-cycle crowd. Depression babies are like that. We re-used everything until it fell apart in our hands. When my brother and I finally had permission to clean out her house (without the threat of being disowned), it took pretty close to a year (or at least – it seemed like it). As for Mom, after she moved, she often wondered why she kept all that “stuff” because she said she didn’t miss it at all.
“You will be ashamed of your idol worship in groves of sacred oaks.” Is 1:29
We tend to really like our “stuff”. We want this or that – and usually multiples of the “this and that”. Between books, Barbies, pictures on the wall, and a few sundry of other things, I have done my fair share of collecting. My husband collects “manly toys” – you know – boats, motorcyles, tools, etc. “Stuff” adds up quickly and clutters up our lives pretty fast. Don’t get me wrong, I still love having “stuff”. But as I dug through all the “stuff” Mom had collected, I realized how there were very little of that “stuff” that meant anything to me or my brother. One day I sat in the middle of what used to be our dining room – surrounded by “stuff” – and was overwhelmed by the sheer uselessness of it.
“…The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.” Rm 10:8
I got a clearer message a few years later, when we had our house fire, I got another nudge about “stuff”. After emptying several large dumpsters of “stuff”, my husband and I made a new rule, if it couldn’t fit in our pocket, we wouldn’t buy it. Obviously, we did not stick to that rule very long, but we have stopped “collecting” a lot stuff. Our smaller home is still full, but most of it (I’m happy to say) are things that weren’t damaged by the fire.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ep 2:8-10
“Stuff” doesn’t get us to heaven…we can’t take it with us. It clutters the corners and builds walls around us. (In my mind’s eye, I can still see my mother’s chair sitting amid piles of “stuff” on every side of it.) It can even cloud our vision as we lose sight of what truly matters. This is where my day became truly productive. It wasn’t about cleaning out the “stuff”. It wasn’t even about initiating a chore that I had wanted to start for years. It was this: Jesus said: “Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Lk 18;22 Looking around my room, I began to wonder: If the Messiah said this to me today, would I sell everything…or would I be like the certain ruler who just walked away…