You Can’t Take It With You

With four months remaining on our lease, and daily reminders of why we need to move, Operation Purge is in full swing. If we don’t use it, we don’t want to move it. The more we choose to part with, the easier it is to let go of more. It is a bit addictive. It also seems freeing. It is becoming difficult to focus on other tasks, as I keep finding myself looking around for things to get rid of. Then I spend time contemplating whether I should try to sell or donate those things. Meanwhile, My sister cannot resist bringing home empty boxes, so there is a growing stack that we aren’t yet ready to fill.

The last time we moved, I think there was about a month in between deciding to go and being gone. With all this “extra” time, planning is in overdrive. Moving is becoming a part-time job all its own, and I already have a second job as a blogger! We have spreadsheets started to organize different aspects of our move. I am in charge of finding our new place to live. She is in charge of logistics and is compiling a master to-do list. Together, we are working on the timeline of when to do certain tasks.  Our conversations revolve around how much we can afford, prioritizing the different features we are looking for in a new place, and how far away we are willing to move.

On a normal Saturday, I would have posted a blog earlier, but I was unusually ambitious today. I got up at 6:20 this morning. I had my normal complement of coffee and put on yesterday’s workout clothes, which I had set aside specifically for this purpose. I headed off to the car wash, which was unusually quiet for a Saturday morning. So I took my time on both the scrubbing and the drying. I drove home, with a detour to drive by a local apartment complex that I wanted to investigate. At home, I scarfed down a bowl of cereal and some juice, put on a dry t-shirt, and headed to the local recycling center. After cashing in my cans and bottles, I headed back home. My next chore was cleaning our little garage. I got a lot done, and I think my sister will be pleased with my contribution to the pre-move checklist. But I am one exhausted blogger. Here it is noon and I am just getting down to the business of putting together a blog. My stomach is telling me that it is actually lunch time, and my head wants me to hurry and write so that I can take a nap.

His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”

Matthew 25:21

Stewardship is what my morning comes down to. I am continually trying to be a good steward of what God has given me. And that isn’t just money or things, but time, also. As we work to winnow down our possessions, I see a potential danger. God wants us to be good stewards, but we can easily become more focused on what we are stewarding than the One who provided it. I think this is true whether we seek to have more or have less. Neither plenty nor little will bring happiness. And even with little, we can place too much importance on those things that we have obtained. There are also the dangers of legalism and self-righteousness. I have heard about people who limit themselves to a certain number of possessions. Perhaps it is good to have a guideline, but what does that number really mean? It is arbitrary. It is not as though Jesus instructed exactly how many possessions a disciple should have. We do not make ourselves righteous by limiting ourselves. Yet God does not want us to squander whatever riches He may provide. It is a delicate balance. We must stay focused on Him. We need to be prayerful, asking God to give us wisdom in how we spend our resources and handle our possessions.

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:11-13

I have been thinking a lot about this stewardship issue, recently. I mentioned in a previous blog that I have been listening to Dave Ramsey’s radio show on my drive home from work. I had already been trying to budget, but I have kicked it up a notch. Now, I am encountering an unexpected problem. I spend too much time ‘staring at my money.’ That is, I am spending a lot of time looking at my budget, playing with the numbers, and checking my account balances. I feel as though it is getting too much of my attention; I am obsessing about it. So I’m back to trying to find that balance between stewardship and idolatry.

This move is going to be a good exercise in faith. We need to pray for His wisdom to make good decisions about how much we should spend, where we should go, and whether we should take on an additional roommate. We need to trust His timing and provision. We need to keep our eyes on Jesus because no matter where we live or what we take with us, He needs to be our ultimate source of peace and contentment.

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