So yesterday, a giant 15 yard dumpster was delivered to my home. The last couple months in my blog, I have been talking about this big move my family is making. The thought of downsizing to a new home is a little overwhelming, but yesterday I realized it is also freeing. With the downsizing comes a lot of dumping of “junk.” When I ordered the dumpster there were so many choices. Who knew? There was a small, a medium, a large and probably an extra large (I stopped at the medium). Looking around at all my “junk” I thought a small size might be a little too small, so I opted for the medium 15 yarder. Oh my goodness! It was huge. It was about 15 feet long and 6 feet wide and 5 feet deep. AMAZING! As soon as it was delivered, I couldn’t wait to start dumping stuff. I started in the garage and just went into instant dumping mode. I must preface this with – I am a serious dumper. I throw away everything. When I get into “clean-up mode” people in my house start to hide all their “stuff” because they know I will trash anything! I love to throw away clutter!
So, after a full day of dumping, I sat back and took some ibuprofen because my back killed! But the dumpster was almost full. How in the world had I accumulated so much stuff? Why did I let it all accumulate? Holy cow, what was I thinking when I stuffed and stored junk in the garage, the attic and the basement?
Luke 12:15-20 Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
I am the man in this story. As we have moved (and we have moved 6 times, this will be our 7th home), our homes have always grown in size. Now just to ease my own guilt, our family was increasing in size during 4 of those moves. So the added space was much needed. There was a point though, that no additional space was really needed, but we kept moving to bigger homes. Now, I am faced with a good size home and a lot of junk stored up.
Why was it so bad for the rich man to store up all his crops into bigger storehouses? As the parable says, the man was so busy storing up his goods (or treasure) that he didn’t allow God into his life. His goods became his idol. God was no longer the center of the man’s attention, the treasure was.
I do this all the time. In fact, as I was cleaning out my “junk” yesterday, I realized we owned way more than we ever needed. Toys, games, books, bedding, furniture, televisions and so much more junked up our lives. All this “junk” was clogging my pathway to God. So when I started dumping stuff into the trash, I realized it was very freeing. I was making space for God in my life once again.
Luke 12:33-34 Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
That “junk” was something I had stored away thinking I might need it someday. I thought I was preparing for unforeseen events. I wasn’t. I was just storing up more “junk” that was building a nice little blockage between myself and God. You see I am not just talking about the tangible stuff that I accumulated. With that stuff, I was storing up worries, anxieties and fears too. I would tell myself, “You never know when I might need that high chair again. I don’t want my grandchild coming over and having no place to eat.” Really? My oldest child is 14; I am not planning grandchildren anytime soon. My worry that I might need that high chair again someday might be a little neurotic. How about the old train table that Pete built for TJ? It was dust covered, unused for years and was completely dilapidated from many moves. Why on earth had I moved that from Champaign, Illinois to Smithfield, Utah to Carmel, Indiana? Dumpster it went. How about all those extra lids to Rubbermaid containers that I use to store stuff? You just never know when you might lose a lid and you might need an extra one, right? For real? To the dumpster.
You see, “junk” pilling really is a sickness to me. And to give myself a break here, I do not like clutter. So, I am pretty good about throwing out stuff, but for some reason the stuff I do keep has an attached meaning to it. I hold up the stuff with an idol-like attitude. The stuff somehow becomes really important to hang on to. Even though, it is really just “junk.” Unfortunately, that junk is just a way of storing up my own worries and what-ifs. I just build and build and build. I am building and storing up barriers between myself and God.
Freeing myself from all that “junk” yesterday was powerful. It reminded me why my family is downsizing. My family needs to get God back at the forefront of our life. We need to release our materialistic idols. We need to be able to see God every day without junk in the way.
Maybe you don’t need a dumpster for your junk. Maybe your junk is stored up in your heart – with worry, anxiety and fear. Maybe your junk is stored up in materialistic objects. Maybe your junk is stored up in the things you don’t have. Beware though. Junk can build barriers, and barriers will hinder your relationship with God.