What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ
(Philippians 3:8 NIV).
Five years ago, we downsized to move to Florida.
A few months ago, we realized, at our vulnerable ages, it would be better for the children if we lived closer. While we don’t relish moving north again, Maryland is not as cold as Northern New York. After much prayer and a trip to our perspective town, we put the house on the market, and it sold within twenty-four hours. “Guess God wants us in Hagerstown,” we said.
Now we face the task of downsizing yet again.
Maybe that is the bane of getting older—relinquishing so many unimportant items.
In reality, very little needs to be kept. My recycle bin is getting thicker while my file cabinets and closets look like they’ve been on a crash diet.
As I go through boxes of possessions we haven’t touched in several years, I ask myself why I thought I needed to hang unto these things. Do I really need three colanders? Two electric carving knives? Two steam irons? Three printers? Old landline? Three different sets of silver?
I have a plethora of books, too.
Fortunately, our new space is equivalent to what we live in now. However, we must weigh the cost of moving against the necessity of the item and replacement value.
Of course, there are mementos. Pictures, albums, and the like. How can I part with those precious cards from the grands?
Every sheet of paper comes with a memory.
And of course, there are my career vanities. Writing conferences that encouraged me, inspirational thoughts I use for blog posts, and most of all, copies of my works, published and maybe someday published.
What criteria should I use to make the decision to toss or keep? Give away or sell?
My eyes well with the reality that from henceforth, I’ll need to live a Spartan existence, keeping only my lance and bow nearby … that which is purely a necessity rather than a want. While there is a weighing down through the process, there is a lightening as well when I finally cast the truly unnecessary aside.
I am reminded of how much our soul becomes cluttered with unnecessary things.
Have I allowed my prayer life and communion with God to be encumbered with catalogued guilt and shame? Or perhaps I hold my habits and desires as more important than a closer walk with the One who emptied himself of Heaven for me?
Do I spend countless hours drained by unnecessary dogma? When we get to Heaven, all will be known. And that knowledge will fade in importance to the splendor of my Savior.
So as I purge my worldly goods, I pray that God will purge my soul as well. I ask God to place me firmly at the cross. Let me measure the worth of all things at the blood-stained gift of Faith, Christ crucified, risen and alive, living in me and nothing else.
“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus”(Philippians 3:13b-14 NIV).