As Fall approaches, I go into clean out the house mode. Most people do this in the Spring, but not me.
I purge closets, papers, anything that is piling up.
Yesterday as I was going through my clothes, I was saddened.
I have so much stuff.
Stuff. Stuff. Stuff.
It hit me hard after watching a Hurricane Harvey flood victim talk about how she had lost everything. However, she had her family and that was all she needed.
Guilt racked me.
So many people have so much less. Yet, I am never content at times.
Always wanting more, more, more.
Jesus had an encounter with a rich man. It convicts to the core.
17 As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments, ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” 20 And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” 21 Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” 22 But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property. Mark 10:17-27
We, Americans, are the rich young ruler this passage speaks of.
If you live in this country, you are wealthy.
If you are reading this email, you are wealthy.
If you are drinking out of a water bottle or coffee cup, you are wealthy.
Yet, we don't see it this way, do we?
We see what others have around us and it makes us want more.
We see the clothes our friends' kids wear and we want to dress our kids the same.
We want to drive cars that make people stop and notice.
I am not saying all of this to make us feel guilty, but to make us aware of our wealth.
And to make us aware of our need for poverty...
Poverty of spirit.
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" Matthew 5:3
When we hunger and thirst for the world, we begin to look like the world. We have an overflowing amount of stuff that we hold so tightly to.
We conform to the world when we conform to our desire for more wealth.
I too am guilty.
Guilty of too much.
Too much stuff.
Too much of desiring more.
When will it end? This crazy cycle of consumption.
What will we do?
Give. Give. Give.
And give some more.
The only thing that stops the demon of greed is the fruit of giving.
1 Tim. 6:17-19 Tell those who are rich not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which will soon be gone, but their pride and trust should be in the living God who always richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and should give happily to those in need, always being ready to share with others whatever God has given them. By doing this they will be storing up real treasure for themselves in heaven--it is the only safe investment for eternity! And they will be living a fruitful Christian life down here as well.
Who and what do we trust in?
Our possessions? Our wealth?
Or, in Jesus.
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:25-34
Give it away, friends.
He will bless every ounce of what you give. And then some.