I feel like I haven’t posted anything in weeks or something, when it’s really only been one day. Weird. I’ve just been having a hard time deciding what exactly to post. In the meantime, I’ve been slowly working on cleaning out the spare room in our home. It is full of stuff, junk, knick-knacks, college books, other books, games, coats, and just plain STUFF! Since I have been going through all of this horrible, pointless stuff, I thought I might just as well post about that.
We live in a world of commercialism today. Everywhere you go, everything you watch on television, practically every billboard, magazine ad, newspaper ad, and internet ad are telling us that we NEED more stuff. We need a whole new wardrobe every season, and don’t forget at least one pair of shoes per outfit. We need that newer, bigger television with better color, sound, and definition. We need a brand new car. We need the latest video game and video game console. We need a gadget for every recipe. We need this. We need that. We are surrounded by what we “need.” When you walk into Wal-Mart, you are bombarded by thousands of “needs.” What’s really bad is that they have now installed tiny video screens on the end caps (ends of the isles) that actually play commercials for the item on that shelf. Not to mention the bigger screens hanging from the ceiling. It’s one thing to put up a sale poster; it’s something entirely different to have to watch food commercials while you are grocery shopping.
All of this adds up to us all having far more stuff than we even realize. I challenge you, go to your attic, basement, spare room, storage shed, or rented storage space, open the first box you come to, and go through it with a fine tooth comb. Did you know you even still had all that? Do you know why you even had to begin with? I bet you said “No” to both of those questions to at least one thing in that box. Now look at all the other boxes in the area. Can you imagine how much pointless junk must be in all those boxes? Try this. Open one of the drawers in your desk. Dig around. Pull stuff out. Yep, you just found something you don’t need, don’t know why you have it, don’t know when you got it, and yet you still have it. Think of all the drawers and cabinets in your house. That’s a lot of stuff.
Now then, think about this. What did the pioneers cross the country in when they were settling the West? A covered wagon. According to Wikipedia, these wagons were normally up to 15 feet in length, and yes, that includes the seat on the front. I bet your living room is longer than that. For some people, their couch is longer than that! Now, you may be thinking that they were pretty wide, though. Nope. Not much wider than two oxen yoked together. That would be similar to two wide cows yoked together, which would probably be about 8 feet of animal, which would probably put the wagons at ten feet wide, at the most. Though in the picture above, that wagon doesn’t look to be nearly that big, but we will go with ten feet anyway. An entire family would put all of their belongings onto and into a wagon that was only 15 feet x 10 feet. Wikipedia says that generally speaking, one wagon represented five people. Can you imagine five people’s belongings fitting into 150 square feet? One person wouldn’t be able to do that nowadays! Yet, do you think those people were unhappy because of their lack of stuff? I doubt it.
I know that some of you are thinking that often the pioneers left things behind when they trekked West, and yes that is true. And you also may be thinking that some families took more than one wagon, and that’s true, too. However, how much would you have to leave behind if you could only fill one wagon, or how many wagons would you need to bring all of you stuff? One four person family could pretty much be a wagon train on their own today!
Now I don’t want you to think I want everyone to clean out everything until you have only enough to fit in one covered wagon for your entire family. I’m certainly not doing that myself. I’m just saying that all the things we fill our homes with, is only stuff in 90% of the case. All it’s good for is collecting dust. You don’t need it, and you can’t do anything with it. Some things are things you’ve had for years and years and years. Maybe they have some sentimental value, but if we kept everything that has any sentimental value to us, then we would all have to live in mansions to have room for it. I’m keeping a minimal amount of sentimental items, and they are pretty small in most cases. Otherwise, it’s in the yard sale! It’s less I have to put somewhere, drag with me on our next move, and keep clean and in on piece.
People will give you things your whole life, and you will get more things from the same people who’ve already given you things. It will not hurt their feelings, if after a bit of time, you get rid of some of it. And if it does, then ask them to give you a gift card to your favorite restaurant next time if they feel they must give you something. Better yet, ask them to donate the money they would spend on you to a worthy cause instead. (Oh, and apologize for hurting their feelings, but explain nicely why you did what you did.)
I once had a preacher who often said that he had never seen a hearse with a U-Haul following along behind it. The point is, none of the stuff we fill our homes with will make a lick of difference once we’re dead and gone. It will all stay on this earth, and then someone else will have to come along and get rid of it for you. God doesn’t count the number of things we own when He considers our lives on this earth. All He considers at that point is our salvation, whether we have Christ as our Savior or not. That is all you will take with you when you die, and when you get down to it, it is the most important “thing” in this life. Fill your home with the salvation of Christ, and you will have all the stuff you need.