Matthew 6:19-21 - Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
My wife and I have lived in four homes in three states in the last 48 months. As a result of all these moves, we have significantly downsized the amount of stuff we own. This took a lot of effort because we lived in one house for 12 years so we had accumulated a lot of stuff. My wife has also been ill so she has had limited energy to devote to sorting and disposing of stuff. But bit by bit we have cleaned out closets, garages, attic space, and bookshelves. Every time we thought were done, we found one more box that we had not sorted yet and the "get rid of pile" grew.
We sold some of the stuff. A lot of it we gave away to people we knew or to charity. Even after getting rid of so much, we still have a lot of stuff!
Somewhere in the process of cleaning, sorting, packing and distributing all this stuff, it occurred to me again how rich Americans are. 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 use only at Christmas and another set we use only when guests come for dinner. Only in America do we have chairs, tables, beds and decorative items that we have not used in months, or even years, which serve no real purpose other than to impress guests a few times a year. Who really needs that many clothes or dishes or beds or chairs or tables?
This effort to downsize our lives has given us opportunity to think through the consumerism that so grips our nation. It helped us consider how we could use our excess to help those around us and expand God’s Kingdom instead of just accumulating it in extra rooms. Perhaps we need to clean more than our physical closets and attics? Perhaps it is time to clean our hearts from the hunger that drives us to want more and more and more. When we clean up our emotional and spiritual closets and attics, the physical ones become much easier to tackle.
Lord, help us to focus on what is really important in life instead of becoming consumed by accumulating stuff. Amen.
This post is adapted from a chapter in the book, The Heavenly Mundane: Daily Devotions from Ordinary Experiences. Filled with stories of how God spoke in big ways through small events, the book will encourage people to look for God in the mundane things of life. Great for both personal use and to give as a gift to friend, either the print version or the e-book version may be purchased at this link: