I spent a sad night last night – sleeping over at a friend’s house who just lost her husband the night before. She is in her 70s and was married for about 55 years. What I discovered was that with marriage comes an abundance of stuff – nick naks, hobbies, things that might be useful, all collected just in case… Now my friend has the task of packing up her married life in a suitcase and moving continents to be with her daughter. There is a three-week marathon ahead dealing with the stuff.
As I said before my hubby is a big hoarder – I put it down to a childhood living in real poverty. His mum used to burn sugar to make ‘tea’ when there was no tea leaves – hard for me to imagine! But sometimes stuff, which we see as a blessing, can become burdensome. It is hard to move through the world with so much stuff. We are like the monkey from the monkey trap:
A trap to capture various monkeys used around the world which consists of a staked container with a hole cut into it just wide enough for a monkey to stick its empty hand into. The container is baited with something attractive to the monkey. Monkey reaches for bait and then will not release the bait and cannot pull it’s hand out of the trap with bait in hand. It is then captured.
Our love of stuff can take away our freedom and ability to move freely. Jesus saw the same thing when he talked to the young ruler:
Luke 18:18-25 A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good–except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'” 21 “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. 24 Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
As I watch Sylvia go through her accumulated stuff I pray that she will have the strength to release what is not necessary to allow her the freedom of a new start. I pray for myself that I would enjoy the blessing of having stuff but not become so caught up in guarding it that it becomes a burden rather than a blessing.