The Stuff of Life

Ezekiel 12:3 (KJV)

Early in my ministry, I served several churches in the Texas panhandle. Part of our Sunday morning routine as a young family was to turn on the television and watch the broadcast of First Baptist Church, Amarillo as we were getting dressed for church.  I still remember one especially salient sermon preached by Dr. Howard Batson. He talked about stuff and the way we relate to it. According to Dr. Batson, we fill our houses with stuff. When the house is full, we put the old stuff out in the garage and in the attic to make room for more stuff. We go to garage sales to buy other people’s stuff. Then we rent buildings to put more stuff in.  It’s all just stuff.

This week, I have been keenly aware of that point, with one minor adjustment. I recognize why we human beings sometimes cling so tightly to our stuff.  Sometimes it is out of greed, but sometimes it’s not the stuff itself but what it represents.  At this writing, I am preparing to close the sale on my house.  Through various circumstances, I have no new place waiting for me.  On Wednesday afternoon, the movers will come and pack up the last 35 years of my life and lock it away in a 10 x 15 steel building. All my stuff will be in storage, and even though I have never been a particularly materialistic person, I find myself sad.

My father’s preaching library is being packed away.  The china set my wife and I received as a wedding gift is being packed away.  The antique china hutch that was a wedding gift from a fellow minister is being packed  away.  The antique amoir and matching dresser we scrimped and saved for is being packed away. The plates, cups, saucers, glasses, and silverware we bought when we tried our hand at running a bed-and-breakfast is being packed away. My wife’s jewelry is being packed away. The boxes of seasonal home decor my wife loved to use in making our home welcoming for visitors is being packed away.  Our family pictures, my son’s little league uniforms, my daughters’ music books, our grandkids’ toy box is all being packed away.  At the end of the month, I will move out of the custom-built house we were able to buy, the house my wife spent her last years, months, weeks, and days in. I can still see her sitting in the recliner in the morning with a cup of coffee, looking out the window at the corn field, and saying, “I love this house. Thank you God for this house.”

I know I can get to any of that stuff at any time I want to. I have a key to the storage unit.  The thing is, when that stuff is out and placed prominently around the house, decorating the walls, it is a silent testament to God’s faithfulness in our lives and in our families.  It’s a reminder of the struggles and the joys we traversed as a family. Sometimes, though, he calls us to give up clinging to the very blessings he gives.  Right after the miraculous catch of fish, Jesus called those fishermen to follow him. The scripture says immediately… immediately, they left all…their father, their boats, their nets, and their fish. Loving the people and memories attached to the stuff is never wrong. Loving the stuff is a problem. I am preparing my stuff for removing. I hope to do it in a way that honors not only what God has done in the past, but what he plans to do in the future.

stuff

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Published in: on February 20, 2018 at 6:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

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