Sunday, September 14, 2014

Homeless People Don't Buy in Bulk

As we drove down a country road, I spoke aloud, "If I were homeless I wouldn't buy birdseed." My husband gave me a strange look. We'd recently walked city streets, then left to drive through the surrounding countryside. The marquis outside a farm store advertised 40-pound bags of birdseed and I immediately pictured myself dragging a forty pound bag of birdseed along the streets of Boston. Total non-starter.

Admittedly, I enjoy comfort--and the things that bring it. I can pack a LOT in a small space (i.e. suitcase or car) and I dislike being unprepared. But if I didn't have a place for my stuff, how much would I carry all day, every day? Just enough. Just enough food. Just enough clothes. Just enough to be clean and warm and...what else? That's about it. No laptop, no smart phone, no extra gazillion shoes or hair accessories or paper products. Just enough.

And in that moment, I was reminded that I am a traveler, a pilgrim, a journeyman here on earth. My eternal home and riches and valuables are not here. They're in Heaven with Christ. He has given me everything I need without the extra weight and burden of lugging it from one place to the next. In fact, He has given me "every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 1:3). Really?!

That means I have the freedom to travel light. And permission to ask hard questions. "Why am I doing this?" "What is the benefit?" "It was on sale, does that mean I need it or want it?" And I begin to think differently about opportunities and endeavors. Is this the best use of my time? Am I obedient and responsible with the blessings and callings God has put on my life? What is most immediate and pressing? What can be laid aside?

Perhaps more convicting is the real stuff I already have. James says, "Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you!  Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten" (5:1). In other words, the stuff you have has been untended so long it's falling apart. The clothes that could have been worn are no longer useful. The things you kept for "a rainy day" are past the point of return. You sat on them so long they have given up the ghost and you have wasted not only their benefit to yourself, but their benefit to anyone. If you don't need it, give it to someone who does! Ahem. Yes. My closets and attic testify to my at-homeness, my I'm-here-for-the-long-run mentality. And stuff takes time. Time to acquire. Time to sort. Time to find. Time to dispense. Time. And that, dear self, is limited. Travel light.

Perhaps you know this song by Jim Reeves I heard many times throughout my childhood:
This world is not my home I'm just a-passin' through
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore.
Think about it. I know I am. Who's running my life? Who's filling my cart? Me? Others? My schedule? Or God? Hmmm.

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 2 Peter 1:3-4

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. Ephesians 1:3-14

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