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You Can’t Take It With You

We are having a garage sale on Saturday. Actually, we are not selling our garage but the contents of our garage…and our attic…and our closets…and different rooms in our house. There are some things of value and many things that don’t have so much value. But as some say, one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure. We have a lot of “stuff” and some of these things we have had for awhile. Actually quite a while. All right, for a long time. Some of these things have been tucked away in corners or buried under piles or hidden in spaces that we rarely go to or look at. But we have held on to them for one reason or another. Some of these items have memories attached to them. They are our memories and others may not find the same enjoyment in them that we have experienced. But you can’t sell your memories, only those things that represent them. We are at the place in our lives where we are grasping the truth that the memories are more important than the things that stand for them.

If you are like me you will understand that the accumulation of things happens slowly, almost imperceptibly. I can’t tell you how many times I have cleaned out my garage only to find it filled to the brim three months later. And it wasn’t like I I backed in a UHaul and dumped it. It was one thing here and another there. I don’t know where to put something so I put it in the garage. One of our daughter’s needs us to store things from their wedding so it goes into our attic. Someone gives us a Keurig so the coffee machine we had goes on the shelf. Our Christmas decorations alone take over two closets. And let’s not mention the boxes and boxes of the kid’s things from childhood.

Jesus told a fascinating parable in Luke 12:15-21:

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.” And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ “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. 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.” ‘ “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 ?’ “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”
It humors me that the man in the parable asks: “What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops?” It never crosses his mind to get rid of them! He doesn’t think about how someone else might be able to use them or to share his blessings with others. He doesn’t even think about having a garage sale to lessen his load. If he lived today we may advise him to build an extension onto his house, or to purchase a POD or move his crops to a storage unit. There is some strange fear we have of letting things go, fearing that we may miss them or need them in the future. And it borders on greed. And in some cases is just plain greedy.
So Jesus gives us a remedy to our materialism and accumulation. He gives direction to those wanting to simplify and live leaner and more sacrificially. If I were give this particular parable a title it would be “You Can’t Take It With You.” Like the old saying goes, “I’ve never seen a hearse with a U-Haul.” Because you won’t be bringing your possessions with you when it’s your time to leave this earth. You will be bringing with you the same thing you brought when you arrived on this scene however many years ago…..NOTHING!
The more you have, the more you have to worry about. The problem is not so much in what you own but what owns you. And if you can’t live without it or it takes so much of your time to care for it or so much of your finances to maintain it or you think it gives you some kind of control or security then perhaps it owns you more than you want to believe. It has been true for us…and hence we are having our sale. Knowing that any day our soul may be required of us it certainly behoves us to free ourselves from our earthly kingdoms and use our time, money and resources to serve our heavenly one. What is more, the more we simplify the greater our affections and devotions will be for Christ.
What do you think?
How does it make you feel?
Note: I am actually interested in hearing what you think and feel. Your responses are appreciated. And they are private. So feel free to respond with your thoughts and your own reflections to What Do You Think?