Ever felt like this guy?
In 1 Samuel, Saul was to be king of Israel and when it came time for him to be anointed as king, he couldn't be found! Finally someone spoke up and said that he was hidden among the "stuff" (baggage) in this story)
This passage got me thinking of our lives as Americans and how God often wants to bring us to the front for His purpose and we are somewhere hidden among the stuff in our lives! "Stuff" can mean a lot of things and here is my edition of how it relates to me:
Most of you know by now that our family is moving to Haiti in February. As we began the process of moving we were facing a plethora of decisions regarding “our stuff”. What do we keep, what do we ship, what do we trash or donate? We had to sift through many filters to establish the decisions. While doing this we came to a few conclusions:
1. We have too much useless stuff.
2. We can live with a LOT less.
3. Stuff is just stuff.
These conclusions help us come to grips with priorities, rekindle very good memories as well as create a resolve not to allow clutter re-enter our lives.
One of the collateral considerations to come of this was that we had not done a good job of re-assessing things periodically as to the necessity of items. Everything from tools (my weakness) to crafts (Michelle’s weakness) to clothes, shoes and the list goes on. So many people could have been benefiting from regular times of purging our closets.
This also reminded me of something that happened a few years ago. I had a truck that I was very fond of. A 1998 Ford F-150 Flare-side extended cab. I loved this truck. One day a friend calls and says “Sell me your truck! I will give you x-amount of cash for it!” Before I could open my mouth to reject his offer outright, the Holy Spirit urged me to be silent. So after a pregnant pause I said let me think and pray on it. So my head was reeling as to why the God was challenging me on it. Michelle and I went for a walk and we were discussing the matter and I was very distraught about it. I didn’t need to sell it; it was paid for! And I didn’t WANT to sell it! Now Michelle has always been one to shoot me straight if asked her point blank of her opinion and man did she give it to me. Basically she read me like a book and said I was tied to that truck and stuff in general. I immediately got out my phone and called my friend and told him if he was serious to meet me early the next morning with cash. So the next morning we did the deal and transferred it before lunch.
Later that day I was still scratching my head about the whole thing and I went to my favorite praying spot and as I was working through it I clearly heard the Lord say to me “I want you to learn to live simply”. Not simple but simply. NOW I know what that means but honestly I didn’t pray through that word and get further instructions. Unfortunately, I allowed my circumstances to dictate my learning of that and it culminated to much of my stress in this move to Haiti. Another score for lessons learned the hard way.
Life in Haiti requires, check that, DEMANDS a slower pace. There are many reasons for this but the reality is, the lack of many of the modern conveniences we are accustomed to are simply not available. Therefore we have to live a more primitive life. I believe God was trying to ease that transitional blow.
As I looked around at so many things with a cord or batteries I thought about the huge percentage of people in Haiti who would laugh at our “desperate need” of such amenities. Life goes so fast. We miss much of it.
This doesn’t mean anyone else needs to move to Haiti but I do believe there is a lesson for all. Simple lives free of constant need for entertainment, without phones and social media, extra-curricular activities, sports and televisions in every room.
I have often ended the day wondering where my time went. I had good intentions of reading my bible or a book or praying and meditation on the Lord or just doing something for myself and everything else just squeezed in and grabbed my time away.
All this other stuff....well, it’s just stuff! There is little substance to it. It’s not inherently bad just not productive in the long game of life! I truly believe the reason why we try to snap photos of every little thing hoping that sometime we will be able to take time to enjoy and reflect on them later. But it seems we never do. They go to a cloud server somewhere and we continue plowing on.
Take time to enjoy your life. Remember James says it is like a morning mist or fog, it appears for a while and then it’s gone. You only get one shot; make the most of it.
Grace and peace,