Sunday’s Scripture ~ Mark 10:17-22.
If you ever visit the parsonage, watch your step just inside the front door. Why, you may ask? Because there is always a pile of donations by the front door.
Always. Ask Andrew.
While serving New Horizon in Haines City/Davenport I was introduced to “31bags” – not the company, but the concept. Ladies in the church told me that on the first day of the month they went around their homes and placed one item in the bag for everyday of the month – so 28, 29, 30, or 31 items depending on the month and the year. Once the items were collected they would place their 31bag in a closet. If they returned to the bag during the month to take hold of a particular item, they would keep that item. All undisturbed items were donated by the month’s end. And on the first of the next month they would repeat the process.
Why did the ladies do this?
- To de-clutter.
- To simplify.
- To help their families so that their loved ones would not have to de-clutter and simplify later.
The practice of de-cluttering and simplifying feels natural to me. If I cannot use something, maybe someone else can. And if I am not using something, do I need to hang onto it? Itinerancy also helps with the discernment to keep or to donate; on more than one occasion I have asked myself in a store – “do I like this enough to move it?” – and more often than not, I leave whatever it is on the shelf.
Donating items and clearing out what is not being used is also a spiritual practice for me. These acts are acts of stewardship. I am making room – physical, spiritual, emotional – for what is really important. I feel like letting go of stuff here – on this side of eternity – further prepares me for what awaits in the fullness of eternity. Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Mt 6:19-20).
I do not want to be bogged down. And I do not think there is “baggage check” where we are going. It is like the wonderfully poignant Polk County bumper sticker reads, “Ye who dies with the most toys…still dies.”
Take a look around your home. Are there places you could de-clutter and areas you could simplify? Is this the time for you to create your own 31bag? These are big tasks and they can quickly become overwhelming, but doing a little bit at a time is better than doing nothing at all. It’s for you. For your family. For your stewardship. For your preparation for eternity.
Prayer: “Take my will, and make it thine; it shall be no longer mine. Take my heart, it is thine own; it shall be thy royal throne. Take my love, my Lord, I pour at thy feet its treasure-store. Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for thee.”* Amen.
*”Take My Life, and Let It Be,” The United Methodist Hymnal 399.