We have a ludicrous love affair with stuff. God admonishes us to store our treasures up in heaven, and as if deaf, we pile stuff high in every closet, on every shelf, and behind the cupboard doors. For two weeks I thought I was out of printer paper, then discovered I had reorganized and moved it to a convenient shelf promptly forgetting about it. The paper was hidden behind a deluge of stuff and was only found because we were tidying up the closet...one more time. Do you ask yourself, as you clean house, how much time is genuine cleaning and how much time is stuff management? I spend a lot of time managing our stuff.
Yesterday I walked in the girls' room, and I wilted. Kara had her stuff, which she assiduously organizes and reorganizes, strewn around the room. With all of her assiduous work, I still call her "disaster woman," and laugh when she announces yet one more stuff management session. Yesterday, I wilted then worked, I promised myself just fifteen short minutes of dealing with Kara's room. I put the books on the shelf, all the Bobbsey Twins together. I cleared off the top of the dresser. I re-stacked Kara's seven notebooks in her top drawer (to Kara's credit, she is a busy woman, never bored, and all that activity requires an astonishing amount of paper products). I bent low and pulled pens and pencils and paper scraps and scissors and sticks (why?) and a candy out from under her dresser. I hauled out a load of laundry. Fifteen minutes, not to finish the job, just to start. Do we consider these our treasures? Even when I am wearied by my stacks, I have a running list of new things I need to simplify. To organize. To educate. Always more.
This week is Spring Clean Up Week here in town. Piles of junk line the streets. While I am all for hand-me-downs, salvaging and re-purposing (ask me how much of our furniture we've bought new!), there are limits. The limits have been reached, they've been passed, by the kind of junk left curbside here. And still, people circle the neighborhood with their pick-ups and trailers, chock full of someone's cast offs. We laugh, feeling immune because we still have more space in our closet to squeeze in some really nice stuff, but it's a hollow, hypocritical laughter.
What if we loved something better than stuff? What if we loved something that didn't sap us dry, something that filled us up, life over-flowing? What if we loved something that won't end up on the curb one day, hauled off by a back hoe and two dump trucks? What if I loved the church, orphans, children, refugees, the least of these, the hurting, the wounded, the hungry? What if I were to make Christ my chief treasure and engaged in a ludicrous love affair with God?