Saturday, September 13, 2008

"Stuff" Is Just Stuff

"Furniture floating and water was rising up to my chest," gasped a survivor of Gulf coast. Seems this gentleman had decided to wait out the storm when the storm surge waters filled his home. He swam for blocks to a stop sign. He then could walk 14 blocks to a shelter.
This man's description of his home filling with water hit me with empathy for everyone having their most personal items destroyed. I love my stuff. I'm purging out things I've held onto far too long. My husband and I both hesitated to toss out anything. My children have been so helpful in dealing with much of John's stashes. I am committed to clearing out as much as possible of my "treasures."

So, I feel for these people and I know nothing new as replacements will be like the "treasures" lost by these hurricane victims. In the book of Mark Jesus deals with material possessions in His dialogue with the rich young ruler.

Derek Webb wrote these words in his song" Rich Young Ruler" Lyrics - Rich Young Ruler

poverty is so hard to see
when it’s only on your tv
and twenty miles across town
where we’re all living so good
that we moved out of Jesus’ neighborhood
where he’s hungry and not feeling so good
from going through our trash
he says, more than just your cash and coin
i want your time,
i want your voice
i want the things you just can’t give me
so what must we do
here in the west we want to follow you

we speak the language and we keep all the rules
even a few we made up
come on and follow me
but sell your house, sell your suv
sell your stocks, sell your security
and give it to the poor

well what is this, hey what’s the deal
i don’t sleep around and i don’t steal
but i want the things you just can’t give me
i want the things you just can’t give me
because what you do to the least of these
my brother’s, you have done it to me
‘cause i want the things you just can’t give me
i want the things you just can’t give me

Mark only refers to him as "rich," while Matthew and Luke add either young or ruler to their versions of this incident. Jesus has been ministering to beggars, homeless, cripples, sick children and people with withered hands, etc. Picture the scene: desperate people with impossible situations and suddenly this man comes running down the road after Jesus. Word's out that Jesus is packing up to leave town.

Amid all of these poor people comes this well dressed respected rich man who is envied for his social status and his "stuff." Did it suddenly hit him that his quest for true satisfaction and fulfillment in life lay with Jesus? For a moment did he drop his decorum and abandon everything to rush down the road to catch Jesus while there was still time?

Maybe this uncharacteristic humble abandonment is what caused Jesus to instantly love him. He asked Jesus how to inherit eternal life. I think he may have been an honest seeker looking for answer to life's greatest question. He believed Jesus possessed the eternal life he needed, and he was willing to look the fool, humble himself, and confidently ask the Lord how he might indeed lay hold of it.
But he would not totally surrender to the Lord. He loves one thing more than what he sees in Jesus. The first commandment..."You shall have no other gods before Me." Exodus 20:3.
Jesus talks with the disciples about the struggle wealthy people have in surrendering to God. The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked.

Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.”
Mark 10:17-27 (New Living Translation)

That verse speaks to me on my own salvation and those "impossible" persons God places on my heart for prayer and evangelism. The stuff will never last or truly satisfy our hungers and needs. My heart aches with the hurricane and flood victims. I pray that this frees them to embrace the all of God and may they be utterly at peace with Him forever. God bless you all.

Forgive us, O Lord, for clinging to the remnants of a life independent of You, and make us wholly Yours. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

1 comment:

Joyfulsister said...

HI Kay
Amen! I myself have been going through my stuff!! stuff I know I needed to get rid of or donate a long time ago but for some sentimental reasonings felt I needed to hang on to them. Than I finally realized it's not the tings but the memories that will forever stay etched in my heart forever.
I'm so ready to simplify, great post my sistah!!

hugz Lorie

© 2008 Kay Martin

Thrive In Christ

Who I Am In Christ by Neil Anderson

For several months we will center on this book to pursue Thriving in our Christian journey.

Neil challenges us with: "Do you know who you are in God's eyes? We are no longer products of our past. We are primarily products of Christ's work on the cross. Who we are determines what we do.

You are not who you are in Christ because of the things you have done, you are in Christ because of what He has done. He died and rose again so that you and I could live in the FREEDOM of His love."

That's just the introduction. More to follow.