Take a moment and think back to all the moves you’ve made in your life. Your first was probably a suitcase and one or two boxes as your parents sent you away to a college dorm room. When you moved into your first apartment you bought a couch, a coffee table and a bed, so that, when you “moved up” in life, everything you owned probably fit into a minivan or the back of your friend’s truck. As you accumulated more and more and bought your first house, you probably had to rent a 10′ truck to hold your earthly possessions. By the time you were married and on a career path, you had to upgrade to the 24′ truck to squeeze all your stuff in. Now look ahead to how you would go about your next move. How big would the truck have to be? How long would it take to physically move everything you “own”?
As I am contemplating my own mountain of stuff, I’m reminded of a story I once read about John Wesley. One day when Wesley was away from home, someone came running to him, saying, “Your house has burned down! Your house has burned down!” Wesley calmly replied, “No, it hasn’t, because I don’t own a house. The one I have been living in belongs to the Lord, and if it has burned down, that is one less responsibility for me to worry about.”
I don’t believe, in that moment, that John Wesley was being self-righteous or pious. I believe his answer was one of a man who’s life reflected the idea that we are only managers of what God has entrusted to us. He lived as if God’s promises to us were true. We cannot lose anything in this life because we never owned it in the first place. What a burden off our shoulders!
Think back on all that stuff you’ve carried around with you through your life. How much of it has provided security, safety and satisfaction? How much of it has done just the opposite?
Imagine losing all of it. Would you be relieved? Distressed? Suicidal? Your gut reaction should tell you much about how close your possessions have gotten to your heart. If they have crept in, it may be time to downsize and give it away. Like John Wesley said, “When I have money, I get rid of it quickly, lest it find a way into my heart.”
“What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.” – Philippians 3:8