And it's all for the good of the planet, right? The whole 'reduce, reuse, recycle' thing. Greener living. (side note - I wonder if 'greenliness' is becoming the next 'next to godliness?' Food for thought. At least a bite.) So I save things. Like containers. And paper scraps. And bottle caps. (craft project supplies, right?) And I buy stuff someone else has already 'used'. Like second hand clothes. And toys.
The Parable of the Talents, Matthew 25:14-3014 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15 To one he gave five talents[a] of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17 So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18 But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’22 “The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’24 “Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.28 “‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29 For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
I'm living so smart because of all the money I can save by reusing so much! So...why have I been struggling with a gnawing feeling of being suffocated by it all? Reusing is good, right? Saving is wise, right? I been trying to process the feeling with God, and I think I (finally) have an answer. It's a two-parter.
First - I have TOO MUCH STUFF. Much more than I need. Now I don't mean like I live in a 24 bathroom house, have a 2nd house in Hawaii, and have my meals flown in from Paris everyday kind of way. But in my own everyday we-don't-even-own-a-TV life, God is revealing I have so much. I am blessed. And this realization is not to take away God's blessing - no, on the contrary, it's to help me open my eyes and be aware of God's blessings in my life. And count them. Often.
The Parable of the Rich Fool, Luke 12:13-1413 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’21 “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”
Second - I am not trusting in God's provision. By holding onto these things (even in the name of being wise by reusing things), in my heart I'm saying I don't trust God. I saying "I might need this someday, so I'll keep it", while God wants me to realize that on 'that someday' when I need 'that thing', He'll provide it. Maybe through reusing something. Maybe through a blessing. However it gets done, He will do it.
Do Not Worry, Luke 12: 22-3222 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life[b]? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?27 “Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
There's a fine line between being wise and hoarding. The line is different for everyone, and based on each individual situation. This is what makes it so important for us not to compare our stuff. God has a different plan and journey for each of us.
For me, I have (finally) agreed with God that I would remove from my life the current things I 'cling to' for security instead of Him. This consists of:
- getting rid of the 2 bins in my garage that contain miscellaneous containers, just in case I need them.
- recycling all the cardboard boxes I fold down & store
- letting go of excess craft supplies...fabric, paper scraps. It's ok to let garbage be garbage.
- cutting down my clothes. I've decided I really only 'need' 4-7 each of long sleeves, short sleeves, pants, capris/shorts, sweaters/hoodies; and 3 sets each of workout clothes, warm & cool pj's.
Writing it here helps it be more final. And reasonable. ;) Reading it, it's still more than I need, so it'll be ok. The fact that it almost makes me have slight anxiety proves to me I need this step. So often in my life I initially resist what God would have for me. But if I can push through, His peace is on the other side. And liking every piece that is in my closet is already making me smile. It also means I get to host a clothing exchange or offer up my articles to hopefully bless someone in truer need than I am.