It’s been 30+ years in the making – 2 children out of the nest, 2 sets of parents’ homes that were downsized, and stuff we had before we decided we needed an upgrade or a remodel. For the past several weeks we’ve been gathering random items and cleaning the basement, attic and storage unit (and it would seem other people’s storage space too). Why did we need all this stuff? Did we ever really “need” it? By saving it, we’ve only accumulated dust, rust, chips and cracks.
Some were kept for sentimental reasons. My grandmother’s rose-colored glass lamps (John always hated them, so we never used them). Wooden dollhouses from John’s mom that I always wanted to decorate (never happened). Then there’s the accumulated stuff. How many placemats does one need? No, my kids don’t want my first set of stoneware. Remember when trolls were all the rage?
Of course, we are hoping to make some money by selling all this stuff. My parents could use the extra income. My daughter could too. And oh yeah, we’ve got this wedding to plan (and pay for)!
Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or – worse! – stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being. (Matthew 6:19-21) The Message
This particular passage is heard every Ash Wednesday in the lectionary. Its context is Jesus’ sermon on the mount. Matt Skinner, Associate Professor of New Testament at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota shares “The true value of monetary wealth, therefore, lies not in its power to accumulate possessions in pursuit of power and comfort. Wealth enables generosity, and a generous heart has its sights set on God. Jesus’ statement in verse 21 works in two ways. First, our use of wealth displays where our hearts reside. The uses to which we put money identify what our innermost selves care for most deeply. Second, our hearts can be made to follow where our treasure goes. When we invest in certain charitable causes and people, our hearts will expand to care for them more deeply. This means that a person need not wait until she or he can muster enough heartfelt concern for the needy before writing a check. Giving a gift, putting money toward uses that promote God’s vision of righteousness, may help a heart receive a taste of what God desires for the world.”
John and I are committed to living more simply. Not accumulating stuff. Practicing what we preach – or at least try harder. One great resource for guiding such a lifestyle is Alternatives for Simpler Living. We’ve followed their suggestions at Christmas and I think our daughter’s upcoming nuptials will glean ideas too.
God asks us to give up all our junk and to focus on a life center in the Way of Christ. Doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly. (Micah 6:8). I hope our tag sale helps us get rid of more than the stuff now tagged and waiting in my garage for the 7AM rush.
I’m sure we’ll be giving away lots of this stuff. It is said that one person’s junk is another person’s treasure. Let’s hope so. And let’s focus on God’s treasure above all else.