When it comes to being attached to possessions, God's word has plenty of sage advice.
Posted in , Jun 29, 2020
My wife Carol and I got the decided to declutter months ago and did what you’re supposed to do, giving away all that stuff in the back of closets and drawers that we hadn’t used or touched in…years.
Then came Covid-19 and sheltering-in-place, and suddenly, we were spending much more time in our home. We started looking for things we'd thrown out that we now missed. Like those muffin tins and folding chairs and that extra pair of shorts. (Less is more, but more sometimes gets in the way of less.)
“It’s not possessing something that is harmful, but being attached to it,” wrote one of the Desert Fathers, a monk, a hermit, someone who would know. It got me looking at the Bible for what it says about our attachment to things.
1) Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)
It’s hard not to feel a sentimental attachment to things. That baseball glove that the boys used playing catch, an old frisbee, a salad bowl that belonged to Mom, Dad’s old Bible. They are reminders of love. But as this verse reminds us, the love is the heavenly part. Not the things themselves. Love is forever. Possessions aren’t.
2) Then He said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” (Luke 12:15)
I tell myself that I’m not into acquiring lots of things. But take a look at all the books gathering dust on my shelves, some I have never even read but I promise to…someday. Do I even know what’s there? Is it knowledge I prize or the image they convey that matters?
3) For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1Timothy 6:10)
When I sit in prayer every morning, I’m surprised how often my thoughts turn to money. I’ll be thinking of God and all of the sudden—how swiftly the mind moves—I’ll be balancing the checkbook in my head and wondering about when a deposit will appear.
4) Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Luke 6:38)
Generosity, that’s the real measure of a life. Not what we have but what we give. And it’s well worth considering the widow’s mite. It’s not how big the gift is but how much it takes from us and how joyfully it’s shared. Decluttering a life means giving. Not having.
5) But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)
It’s not that things don’t matter. God understands that we need to eat, need clothing to wear, need a roof over our heads. “All these things will be given to you…” as this verse reminds us. It’s how we prioritize those things that matters. What comes first? Love. God’s love. God’s kingdom.