Thank you Kathi Lipp for today’s message.
Sell your possessions and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Luke 12:33-34, ESV).
When I was a young adult, I would often tell myself, “When I become really successful, I will give away so much money! I will support orphans and the needy. I need to work hard so that in my later years, I can do a lot of good in the world and for God’s kingdom.”
At the same time, I was in a constant battle: me versus my stuff. My home was stuffed to the brim with things I bought and used (or not). I would try and try to declutter, but everything in my house, to me, was completely essential. Maybe not right now; I couldn’t get rid of anything that I might need, someday. It seemed wasteful to have bought the heart-shaped muffin pan, use it once, and then give it away. (What if, five years later, I had another child who wanted little heart shaped cakes for Valentine’s Day?) My entire house was brimming with “what ifs.”
So as my house kept bursting at the seams, my plans I had to care for the poor never magically happened. I knew the next step was to earn more money so I could serve the poor and buy a bigger house so that we weren’t always so crowded, and I could concentrate on loving others well. Right? Isn’t this what the world tells us?
All of this was faulty, future thinking. Instead of doing what I could, in the moment, to serve those right in front of me, I kept saying “someday.”
- About my clutter.
- About my helping the poor.
When it came to clutter, “What if I need it someday?” is the cry of the fearful heart. Because for the fearful heart, what we once decided would be “enough” to start helping the poor, “enough” to have in our homes, will never be enough.
The only way we will have enough in our homes, enough to help those who need the help, is to get to the place where we trust the God who has already given us so much.
It took me well into my forties to believe — really believe — that I could get rid of the “extra” in my house, the “just in case” in my house, without fear. Have I given away a few things I needed again? Occasionally. In those instances, I’ve had the peace of knowing that my extra was being used by someone else who needed it, and I could, if I really needed it, buy or borrow those items again.
But the most exciting part of this journey has been the ability to help people — not “someday” but right now.
Instead of selling our couch that was still in wonderful shape and people had offered to buy from us, we were able to give it to a single mom who just moved to our community.
And when our friend was raising funds for clean water in Africa, I had a piece of jewelry (given to me by someone who was no longer in my life) that I was able to sell for money to help build a well.
I would rather carry these acts in my heart than extra stuff in my house.
Don’t let your abundance be what you put your trust in. Instead, trust your abundance to God.
Have a blessed day!