19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
We are creatures of consumption, its how God made us, its something we do every second of the day and we do it sometimes without thinking. Whether its the oxygen we breathe, the food we digest, or the brand new (insert popular product) that we just purchased online or in the stores, we consume. It’s great to consume, oxygen is necessary and food is delicious, but what about the things that don't keep us alive? If it’s not a need than its a “want” and we all have them. I believe God created us this way to strive for more, more than the basic needs, to want more for our family and ourselves, more knowledge, more love, and more understanding. But what happens when all of our wants become tied to material possessions? We lose focus.
Something in the last year I have fell in love with is decluttering. I’ve sold and donated many things in the past few months, from old clothes, video game consoles, a metal detector that I got when I was little and even the incredible Tony Little Gazelle Glider. This is just a small sample of things I have sold and given away, but it feels good to get rid of things you don't use because it just takes up space and others can use it. Now that Katy and I are moving to Guatemala it’s time for some more decluttering.
I find it incredible the amount of stuff we as people accumulate over the years. Just go look in your garage today and you will find things you’ve completely forgot about. But what are we saving it for? Don't get me wrong I enjoy a trip down memory lane, looking at old report cards, old pictures, (especially ones with my sisters, when my mom used to cut their hair) and old toys I used to play with when I was little. I don't see anything wrong with holding on to some keepsakes, ones that really mean a lot or they’re in remembrance of a loved one, but if your keepsakes take up an entire closet or bedroom, are they really keepsakes or is it just “stuff”.
Jesus told him, "If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.
I believe credit cards hold some of the blame to our over consuming society. It gives us the easy access to purchase things we simply don't have the money for. Advertising can also take a small bit of the blame because without a car advertisement, people wouldn't buy into the lies that a new car will help you fall in love with a complete stranger. Or that a new jeep has the ability to fly across the roughest terrain despite the fact you just use it to drive to work everyday on nicely paved roads. But both of those things don't matter if we have the will power to just say no. In our society some people see “keeping up with the Joneses” as normal. It could be your neighbors new car, new gadgets, or the lifestyle they are living, or at least projecting. But God commanded us to not covet (yearn to possess or have something) in the Ten Commandments. I believe the less we focus on what others have the more happy we become.
15 Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”
16 Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. 17 He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ 18 Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. 19 And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’
21 “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”
I have truly enjoyed doing this not only with material possessions that I don't need, but anything that does not strengthen my relationship with God. We must declutter the stress we have, the anger we hold onto and the judgements we keep. We must declutter the distractions that are in our way from serving and loving others and God with all our heart. Once we declutter we don't miss what we forgot we had, we don't focus on daily stresses or people we disagree with. We wont worry about bills, because we really wanted and even told ourselves “we deserve” that new thing. God deserves our love, he deserves our time and we as Christians need to declutter from the distractions of our society, our spiritual distractions and our material distractions and cling to Him.
I write this because our lives are busy. They don't simply stop or slow down. Our lives are full of ups and downs, full of laughs and cries, and full of stress and peace. But God created us with a “want” trait, a trait that desires more, and I feel we have lost focus in consuming what God has given us. He has given us truth, strength, and love and we should desire and want more of Him.
So I’ll encourage you to try it today, find 10-30 minutes and open a closet, walk into the garage, or find a quite area and reflect and take action on what in life you can declutter.