Years ago, we planted a church that had a strong focus on community service, and nearly all of our tithes and offerings were invested in practical outreach to those around us. One time, we were approached by a friend who knew of our ministry and asked if we would be willing to undertake a major project for an older gentleman who lived nearby. It turns out that he was a hoarder, and his wife had had a heart attack, but the paramedics couldn’t get through the mess to get her out of the house. At that point, his place was condemned and he was told he couldn’t come back until it was cleaned up. Whether or not it was wise, we took on the challenge and spent countless hours and thousands of dollars sorting through stuff and making it fresh. Since the owner lived through the Great Depression, he never threw anything away, and there were years of newspapers, magazines, books, papers, dishes, and everything else you can imagine stacked to the ceiling. It was so bad that there was a beehive upstairs and multiple insect nests beneath the piles of stuff downstairs. Once we finally made the home habitable again, we were excited to let the man know. However, when he returned, his reaction is one I will never forget. Instead of being happy, he looked around and shouted, “Noooo!” In that moment, my heart broke for him as I realized that everything he prized and valued had been in those filthy rooms. To him, the stuff was life.
My friend, as a disciple of Jesus, it’s important to live unencumbered. While there’s nothing wrong with having things, don’t allow your possessions to possess you. Jesus traveled lightly through this world and He invites you to do the same. When you can easily manage what you have, it frees you to go about your Father’s business and devote your time and energy to the people and causes that are most important. Shed the bloat of excess stuff and it will propel you to greater joy and productivity in Him.