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In an article first published on ASSIST News Service, CAROL ROUND wonders whether our stuff gets in the way of our relationship with God…

Grove, Oklahoma, US
Via ASSIST News Service

“He told them: ‘Take nothing for the journey – no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt’” – Luke 9:3 (NIV).


Time for a sort out? PICTURE: jamesthethomas5/Unsplash

I’ve been on a decluttering mission lately. Crammed in a padded window seat in my home office are piles of used, odd-sized mailing envelopes I’d saved through the years. I can’t stand to part with any of them. After all, I need to be recycling, don’t I?

After organising my envelope stash, I riffled through the other items hidden there for safekeeping. When I began to pull out reusable shopping bags, tote bags and gift bags I’d forgotten about, I thought, “Enough is enough.”

I don’t consider myself a hoarder. I don’t hang onto things for their sentimental value, but out of fear I might need an item in the future. The fact is, like those envelopes and bags stashed out-of-sight, I had forgotten about them. While I occasionally need a padded mailing envelope, I’d not used any of the tote bags since I’d stored them away.

My closets are also overflowing with stuff I’ve forgotten about. Opening a door is like discovering a treasure chest of goodies, including more tote bags I’ve either purchased or picked up as freebies at conventions and craft fair booths.

What does Jesus think when He sees my overstuffed closets, chests and drawers with things that I keep “just-in-case” I need them? I’m sure He also shakes His head, just like some of my friends do when they see my overstuffed purse. I wasn’t a Girl Scout, but I have a need to be prepared, “just-in-case.”

I’ve tried to downsize my purse and my house clutter many times. Seems like it’s not very long before they are stuffed to the max again – “just in case.”

What if Jesus approached us like He did the disciples, telling us to take nothing for the journey He had planned for us? Would we be able to walk away with nothing but the clothes on our backs to share the Good News? 

I recall the instructions given to our team as we prepared for a mission trip to Mexico in 2008. Our pastor said, “You can only pack one medium suitcase.”

My first response was, “Define medium.”

Later, I realised that much of what I’d stowed in my medium-size suitcase was non-essential. As I helped to build a 12 x 20 concrete block casita for a family of five, I thought about the 1,630 square foot house I lived in. The family had been living in a space smaller than my walk-in closet. The casita we were building included two doors, three windows and a loft for their children. No electricity, no water. But to this Hispanic family, it was a castle.

In our humanness, we try to be self-sufficient, clinging to things and trying to be prepared for whatever the future brings. But, often those things keep us from clinging to the one thing we really need: faith.

What can you let go of today? Declutter and get rid of the unnecessary. Be ready for Jesus’ calling.




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