Finding Life More Abundantly
Have you ever entered your home after a long, hard day and felt almost certain that soon you would be receiving an open invitation to be featured in the next episode of Hoarders? Do you have an overabundance of “stuff” and an extreme lack of storage? Are you continually acquiring new possessions but never purging those possessions you no longer need? These are definitely “first world” problems that we might very easily brush off as non-issues. Don’t be quite so hasty to jump to such a conclusion.
The sad truth is, our things can own us instead of us owning them. In Matthew 6:24 our dear Lord and Savior gives us a sober warning.
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
Merriam-Webster defines mammon as material wealth or possessions especially as having a debasing influence. Could it be that we are slaves to our own possessions? Do they monopolize our time, our desires, or our income? Might it be possible, upon further self inspection, that we are giving more time and affection to mammon than to our family and our God? These are seriously frightening questions that demand honest answers.
As each new year approaches, we often reflect upon our lives by engaging in serious soul searching. We become retrospective in an attempt to answer difficult questions and improve ourselves and our lives. In so doing, if we find ourselves a slave to mammon, we must actively pursue freedom for the entanglements of its slavery. You may say,
“Yes! I am tired of this self imposed bondage. It sounds great, but I’m overwhelmed, and I just don’t know where to start.”
As in all things, simplification can be achieved by adopting a set of guidelines and setting both short and long term goals. Be realistic when putting a time frame in place. Laura Ingalls Wilder once said,
“The trouble with organizing a thing is that pretty soon folks get to paying more attention to the organization than to what they’re organized for.”
We must not be so enslaved to the process that we defeat the original purpose of obtaining a decluttered and simplified life. As for the guidelines, when analyzing our possessions, we must ask ourselves the following questions to determine what we keep, toss, or share.
3 Considerations When Determining Needful Possessions
Do I need this or do I just want it?
Again, we live in a society that is steeped in materialism and immediate gratification. We are assured we can “have it our way” and deserve nothing less than luxury. More is more in our “have your cake and eat it too” world. This is so true that many times we have difficulty differentiating between our wants and needs. We are assured in Philippians 4:19 that our God will meet every need we may have and Matthew 6:33 tells us that if we seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness, all these things will be added unto us. We read these verses over and over but do we really understand what constitutes a need as opposed to a want?
1 Timothy 6:8 tells us we should be content with food and clothing. Well, that really helps narrow down the needs list, doesn’t it? Am I suggesting you forfeit everything that does not make the food/clothing cut? Certainly not! I am merely suggesting that we get some real perspective when it comes to our possessions.
How To Prioritize Needful Things
As a rule of thumb, the less excess baggage we have, the easier it will be to get and remain organized.
- Use your family size and lifestyle as a guide to the appropriate amount of linens, dinnerware, wardrobe, and pantry items you NEED.
- Also, be aware of the amount of sentimental items you are holding onto. Take photographs of your children’s schoolwork, artwork, and crafts and keep only the most precious items. Always keep in mind, it is the memory attached to the item that has value, not necessarily the item itself.
Is it a blessing or a curse?
I must ask if my possessions make my life easier or more complicated. One word. Kitchen gadgets! Take a quick mental inventory of all the wonderful supplemental kitchen aids you own. Now, how many do you actually use, how often do you use them, and how difficult is it to use them? Breadmakers, Panini presses, gourmet coffee machines, and the like allure us with the promise of a much more fulfilling life. However, once the novelty wears off, they tend to become space hogging dust collectors. The same can be said of toys, electronic devices, exercise equipment, and much, much more. Honestly, if these things do not add to your quality of life, they detract from it. We know that Jesus came to give us an abundant life. (John 10:10) If our possessions hinder this abundant life, they have no place in our homes.
Does someone else need this more than I do?
I have no doubt that each of us has been tremendously blessed in our lives. We must bear in mind that with blessings come responsibilities. When John the Baptizer was asked by the people to whom he preached,
“What shall we do then?” He answered, “He who has two tunics, let him give to him that has none, and he who has food, let him do likewise.” (Luke 3:11)
We have a great example of the first century church doing this very thing.
“Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.”
So, how do we measure up on this sharing thing? Quick question. How many coats, pairs of shoes, blankets,__________(you fill in the blank) do you and your loved ones own? How many of these rarely find their way out the closet in which they reside? Is it reasonable to think our multiples might be much more needed and appreciated by someone else? We are fully aware that it is more blessed to give than to receive but do we ever consider it may be more blessed to give than to keep? After all,
“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
We know “one’s life does not consist in the abundance of things he possesses.” (Luke 12:15) Keep what is needed, toss that which clutters and robs you of an abundant life, and share so you can bless and be blessed beyond measure. Let us purpose to live by these rules in the new year and always. The whole concept can be summed up in a simple phrase.
“Those who are possessed by nothing possess everything.”
by Morihei Ueshiba, athlete
~ This post is written by Team Member Shanna Mathis Anderson
*quote from goodquotes.com
* all *quote from goodquotes.comverses taken from NKJV