Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Making Room for Essentials

"Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." Luke 12:15, the words of Jesus

A dark, December evening, my family was readying to leave on a short holiday trip. We loaded our pickup with gifts, food and two young children, Russell and Sheryle. The pickup had one bench seat. With two kids squeezed between us, my husband began driving toward Dallas.

Into the trip only a minute, Sheryle asked, "What's this furry thing sitting on my lap?" I immediately reached over and found the "furry thing" to be a very quiet farm kitten. We U-turned and dropped the feline off so she could spend Christmas with her siblings. We suspect a little girl had smuggled the cat on board. For several reasons, it was expedient to get rid of trip inessentials.

Our minister's sermon series, Living Rich Simply, prompted my husband and me to start eliminating household knick-knacks. Our shelves and cupboards overloaded, we decided non-essentials had to go because we are packing light for the rest of our earthly trip.

After a season of gift giving, we always have more possessions in our possession. For the future, I have gift giving goals—to gift things that take up temporary residence: soaps, fragrances, scented candles, money, or food. I'll consider any item that can be consumed, melted down, sprayed out, burned up, or spent in a year. I am strongly yearning for less in my house, and I suspect my friends and family are, too.

The accumulation in my home is not due entirely to gifts received. The other 364 days in a year contribute collections of cardboard rolls; twist-ties; the plastic thingumajig that broke off the whatchamacallit; junk mail; and all the extra buttons, knobs, and nails saved for an emergency. Haven't needed them yet, but we are prepared.

David and I decided we're not collecting anything more than wrinkles this side of eternity. It's a good thing that God will not allow the Messecars to take things out of this world because heaven would look like Sanford's junkyard.

On earth, I could get by with a lot less in order to do a lot more for Him. If I don't control possessions, they control me. I find myself dusting teapots instead of cooking stew for an ill neighbor, polishing silver instead of praying in my prayer garden. I want to watch for hitchhikers.

When my adult daughter Sheryle visits home and says, "Mom, after you're gone, may I have the Prussian Princess figurine?"

I say, "Why wait? She hasn't traveled in a while. Take her now."

If all goes as planned, there will be fewer trinkets in the Messecar household—we have to make room for all those wrinkles.

Lord God, snuff out my desire for possessions. Increase my desire to seek the kingdom. In the name of Jesus who near the end of his life owned a one-piece tunic and beyond that clothing not much else. Amen.

Excerpt from The Stained Glass Pickup: Glimpses of God's Uncommon Wisdom. Used by permission of Leafwood Publishers. www.LeafwoodPublishers.com


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