After 19 years of starting churches in rural areas in Vermont, my wife and I are preparing to relocate to Connecticut to plant churches around the urban areas in that state. As part of the preparations for this move, we are selling our home. Our home is an old Vermont farmhouse built around 1860. It has large rooms and lots of nooks and crannies to put stuff. We have spent countless hours cleaning out closets, garages, attic space and bookshelves. It seems like every time think we are done, we find one more corner that we have not sorted yet.
We have sold some of the stuff. Most of it we have given away to people in our church, to the Salvation Army, to a family that lost their home to a fire, and to a big church yard sale that raised money to help needy children. And yet . . . we still have more stuff we keep finding that we just do not need!
Somewhere in the process of cleaning, sorting, packing and distributing all this stuff it occurred to me how “rich” most Americans are, including myself. Only in America do we have clothes stored in totes and boxes because we cannot wear them all. Only in America do we have a set of dishes that we only use at Christmas and another set we only use when company comes over. Only in America do we have chairs, tables, beds and decorative items that we have not used in months, or years, and yet they sit in our extra rooms with no real purpose other than when a guest uses those rooms a few times a year. Seriously, who needs that many clothes or dishes or beds or chairs or tables?
Perhaps it is time for us to think through the consumerism that so grips our nation and start considering how we might use our excess to help those around us and expand God’s Kingdom. In order to really do that, I think we may need to clean more than our physical closets and attics. The reason we have all that extra physical stuff anyway is because some emotional or psychological need propels us to want more and more and more. When we clean up our emotional and spiritual closets and attics, I think the physical ones will be much easier to deal with. Just some thoughts from an empty nester re-evaluating life . . . .
For more devotionals like this one, consider Touching the Footprints of Jesus.