It’s All Just Stuff

Read: Proverbs 15:16

Better to have little, with fear for the Lord, than to have great treasure and inner turmoil. (TEV)

Henry David Thoreau once said, “It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly.” Yet we just keep plunging headfirst into the deep pool of stuff our materialistic age offers us, don’t we?

Come on now—you know what I’m talking about.  Just go look in your garage!  Honestly, isn’t there a lot of stuff that you use only once every decade, if that?  You are inundated with stuff!  Me, too!

My wife and I recently had cabinets built into the garage after two years of living in our house, and I was delighted to finally get all of the boxes unpacked and put away.  Being a bit obsessive about orderliness and neatness, I was beyond thrilled to finally organize and hide all the stuff we had.  But my delight turned to despair when we had more stuff than shelves—and that even after making a few trips to the Salvation Army drop off center.  Lord, deliver me from all my stuff.

Blaise Pascal said, “It is not good to be too free. It is not good to have everything one wants.” Why is that?  Well, our thirst for material things, taken to an extreme—which we always do, by the way, and that explains where we are after thousands of years of human history, living in the most materialistic culture ever—leads to the kind of pressured and unsatisfying vicious cycle of life described by Ellen Goodman:

“Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for—in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it.”

How about calling a halt to the rat race you and I are in?  It will be tougher than we think to break our addiction with stuff—but we’ll be happier, healthier, and probably a little more holy if we can make the break.

So stay away from the Mall this week—or month, or year.  Don’t stroll through the auto show when it comes to town.  Turn the channel next time that infomercial is taking up air-time—besides, there’s more “sham” than “wow” to Shamwow anyway.

Better to have little with fear of the Lord than the stress of a garage full of stuff and monthly bills to pay for it.

“An object in possession seldom retains the same charm that it had in pursuit.” ~Pliny the Younger

Your Assignment, Should You Choose To Accept It:

Breaking the stuff addiction will be tough, so find a “stuff reduction” partner and enter into an accountable relationship with them to eliminate clutter in your life—and to stay away from re-stuffing your life once you’ve made room.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “It’s All Just Stuff

  1. Yes I agree!
    I remember back in the 1980's when I was starting out, seeing an advertisement on television saying "Calgon – take me away!!" It showed a woman with a brief case in one hand, a baby on her hip, a house full of things to clean, and a frying pan in the other hand. She looked frazzled trying to keep up with everything – and of course a hot bath in "Calgon" bath oil was supposed to make it all go away for a while. I remember thinking right then that I didn't want to have that kind of life, even though it was popular to be that busy , be able to buy two new cars, a boat, and have a prestigious career. When Ray and I got married, we decided to try something different – something that made other people call us boring, simple and old-school. We decided to live almost a 1950's life-style, where Ray would have the career, and I would keep a calm organized home where I wasn't too tired to keep everything up and running. It meant that we didn't have a big home right off, or new cars, or a lot of stuff – but as we used the simple principles of sowing and reaping that the Bible talks about, we noticed that what we did have stretched further – and the more we tithed, the more increase Ray received – all while continuing to live a simpler, clutter-free life. To this day – 23 years later, I have never missed the rushing around and long stressful days that we both would have had to have to get more things, or even a bigger "savings account" – but I truly thank God for showing us back then how to live in faith, and that God will still provide for you and increase you even if you live a scaled-down stress free life!

    • Most of us would agree that you and Ray made the right and wiser lifestyle choice…and one that's honoring to God. Perhaps in this time where the economic future is more uncertain than ever, more of us will realize that investing in the things that can't be taken away, things that will count for eternity, is the far better stewardship of our lives and resources.