Friday, July 1, 2016

Devotion 7.1.16

Stuff.  That's the general theme of the summer at my house:  Stuff.  Stuff, and its step-sister, Junk, seem to reside at our house in general locations.  The kitchen is the initial intake center since it is central to the house and close in proximity to the garage:  mail, packages, items from trips, furniture, and other such items all report to the kitchen via the garage for general processing. 

Sometimes it may take days for Stuff to be processed.  Credit card companies, for example, are fond of sending you pre-awarded cards for your convenience with information already filled in, so we prefer to shred that since it is potentially dangerous Junk, not Stuff, but the person we've contracted with to shred all documents (me) usually waits until there is a stack of Junk to shred.  However, Stuff in the forms of ball caps and other such random Stuff (computer at the table and other technologies) may stay at rest during the week until they can be processed back to the assigned room.  That is usually determined by an official schedule of the House Manager (me) which waits until either the Stuff reaches critical mass or we have company coming and need all the slots on the official dining table of Baldner Enterprises and Home.

With my wife's father's passing, there has been an inordinate amount of Stuff to be processed because his house was also a collection of an inordinate amount of Stuff (pictures, furniture, official documents, dishes, trophies from bowling days, etc.).  This created Newton's Law of Stuff (for every room filled with your Stuff, there is a room to be absorbed of equal and opposite Stuff from somewhere else.) The staff at the Baldner house had to bring in added help to process the Stuff when it came from Dallas (wife and children) as we decided what was Stuff for our house or the kids.  Junk had been processed back in Dallas and was not brought to the house here to be processed, although some items initially thought to be Stuff was really Junk when it came to the house.  For example, he had a set of 1963 mint condition WorldBook Encyclopedias that featured somethings such as the advent of a thing called a computer which would revolutionize the world someday as it only took up a room or floor of an office building.  I wanted that Stuff for my collection, but my wife insisted it was Junk.  So, it went with the Junk instead of staying with the Stuff much to my dismay.

Why do we have so much Stuff that is potentially Junk given time, value (actual or emotional), and usefulness?  Why do we have so much Stuff to begin with?  Unfortunately, we have so much Stuff that some has been assigned a small climatized storage room at a local storage facility (Christmas ornaments collected over a lifetime and 30+ years of marriage for example).  "You won't take it with you when you die" is a popular adage.  That's true.  There will be another household assigned with processing all of this stuff when we are gone to determine if it has any value and assigning it either Stuff or Junk status.

I say all this because I am not alone.  I am certain that as you read, your own mind began processing the Stuff you have and some of the things you want to get rid of because it has become Junk, not Stuff, but someone, or something (emotional attachment), is standing in the way of processing your own Stuff or Junk.  Why are we like this?

I'm not sure, but Christ uses Stuff as a theme in a parable in Luke 12.  "Someone in the crowd said to him, 'Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.' But he said to him, 'Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?' And he said to them, 'Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.' And he told them a parable, saying, 'The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: 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 ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.' But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.'”

As we look at our Stuff, we should from time to time ask ourselves how much is enough?  Pray that we not be consumed with material goods to the point that we hear God speak to us as he spoke to the "fool."  Pray that what we have is what we need and to know that all we have comes from God.

Hope Men's Ministry

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