clutterWhat is stuff? Is it junk? Personal belongings? How much stuff do you own? Have you ever watched the television show “Hoarders”? Here’s a short clip if you have not.

Now that’s a lot of stuff. My Grandpa wasn’t a hoarder and he was clean, but he did own a lot of stuff. If he could not find something, instead of taking the time to look for it, he would just go to the store and buy another one. He could accumulate three, four, maybe even ten of the same item. He had enough hammers to own his own hammer shop (well, he was in construction) and be successful. I’ve also been inside a college friend’s house where there were tiny one foot paths going throughout the house, with piles of stuff three feet high on both sides of the path. Counter tops, furniture, everything had stuff on it. Apparently they could never find anything either and bought extra stuff they could not find! I’ve also been inside a house where the family loved to decorate their walls with stuff. There was not a single spot where anything else could be hung. It felt claustrophobic to me, as if all the stuff was jumping out at me.

Everyone has their stuff. Some stuff is considered treasure for some people while it is just pure junk for others. How many garage sales have you been to just to go through someone’s else’s junk, thinking you might find a treasure? Some people like to accumulate more and more, whether it’s someone else’s stuff or another tool or article of clothing they really “need.”

In prison, we are very limited as to how much stuff we can have. Since I just moved into a different building, I went from being assigned two 7’ x 3’ lockers with four shelves to one 4’ x 2’ locker. I didn’t’ have much stuff in the first place, but now I’m really limited as to what I can have. All of our stuff has to fit inside our lockers. Inside my locker I have all my clothes, my books, my food, my hygiene items, and any extra stuff I own (a few pictures, a calendar). It’s not much, but I’ve survived two years already with a very limited amount of stuff that I can call my own.

Imagine trying to cram all the stuff you own inside a 4’ x 2’ locker?  Would your clothes fit or what about all those shoes you own? Would your entire shoe collection fit inside the locker? What would you choose to put into it….things that you just could not live without?  How much stuff do you realistically need? Being in prison has really changed my mindset of what I actually need to survive, and it’s not much. When I am released, I’ll be doing some major spring cleaning and have a garage sale or two to get rid of those items I can live without.

Do you ever think about what kind of stuff Jesus owned in His day? How many different outfits did He own? How many pairs of shoes? He was a carpenter, so He must have had a lot of tools, right? I’m thinking the answers to the questions are “bare minimum”. Why do we need so much stuff today? How did this happen? Is it a want or a need? I had a friend in college who owned a particular pair of shoes for four years and had yet to remove the shoes from the box!

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves to not break in and steel. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-221. I’m not saying that you should get rid of all your stuff. We all need stuff to survive, and some of us need more than others. Sometimes God blesses us with many things. The next time you want to add to your stuff, though, think about your wants and needs.  You just might not really need to buy it. And maybe with the money saved, you could consider doing something that would glorify God.

Now a final thought: Jesus compared heavenly values with earthly values when He explained that our first loyalty should be to those things that do not fade, cannot be stolen or used up, and never wear out. We should not be fascinated with our possessions, or else they possess us. God alone deserves to be our master. Store up your treasures with God, focus your eyes on Him, and serve Him alone. That’s where you can find true treasure!


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