Tomorrow my friend is going to take me shopping. I'm very excited about it; more about getting out of the house than for any other reason. I am taking my wheelchair which means I should be more able to enjoy being out....not distracted by pain quite so much. Of course my neck can put up a fuss and probably will but I will bring my neck brace and a bottle of PRNs to deal with that.
I seriously hope I am not disappointed by my gifts. And since I chose them I have no one to blame but myself. The thing that I find the most disappointing is that I did it again. I fell for the "stuff monster" (as opposed to stuffed monster). The stuff monster convinces me that I really need this stuff in order to go on. In order to survive and thrive. The question is when am I gonna get serious and take some of the presents (stuff) from past years, box them up and donate them? Because you can't just endlessly add to the pile of STUFF around you. Soon you won't be able to see over it. Soon you won't be SEEN behind it. I will just disappear and all that will remain is the stuff I just couldn't live without.
I think of my Philippine friends. They do not have this problem, I don't think. Are they happier than I? I know if I were to give them the gifts intended for me this Christmas they would be happier about them than I am. Or maybe not. Maybe because they are not choked by stuff, Stuff doesn't have its green slimy hands around their neck. Maybe they are free enough to know that it really doesn't matter. I'm really not sure how it works. Because I know that for those who do not find their contentment in Christ, even not having stuff can become a trap. A trap of unmet greed and desire.
So maybe that is the solution - both for them and for me. To be contented in Christ. One time many years ago, I really really wanted to be satisfied in Christ alone. I did not want to be owned by my stuff. So I brought my friend into my house. I showed her all of my treasures. And I told her I wanted her to take whatever it was she wanted from my stuff. It sounds easy to do...but actually, I had to face every one of my possessions and mentally disengage from it. I had to know that I may not own it tomorrow. I had to say "goodbye"to every item I owned.
That was a freeing exercise....and in the end I WAS free!! I knew that as long as I had Jesus, I would be okay....better than OKay. I knew too that no one and nothing could take me from the hands of Jesus. I am HIS possession and there ain't no one nowhere who is big enough to take from God what is his. In fact the only thing that can get in the way of the love fest going on between me and Jesus, was my own self. My own STUFF.
Folks. this is an ongoing battle. And we must stay on top of it....otherwise we will be buried underneath it. I need to see a new way that I can beat this dragon. Maybe from the new "stuff" I get this year, I need to pick from it and give it away. Give it to someone who doesn't have it or who cannot ever hope of getting it. We cannot relax. WE cannot breathe easy. This is a war.
Jesus called "stuff" a word that we don't use any more. He called it "Mammon" and really it meant the "stuff"of the world. And he said something frightening. He said we cannot serve both it and Him. One or the other must go. There is NO SUCH THING as "having it all"....nope. Jesus must be our all and if he isn't...then we've inherited a big mess of trouble. My words are not just for you today. They are mostly for me....and if they are pricking you too then so much the better. But I know that I need to proactively come up with a way of disengaging. And let me tell you a secret. The more you value your Jesus, the easier it is to let go of the stuff....because we can see right through it's cardboard face to the hell on the other side. And you will see how wonderfully beautiful and valuable your Jesus is. And you will discover that the less Mammon you have, the more of Jesus you have and there will absolutely be no lack. you will have indeed discovered the secret of being content in all circumstances, as Paul discovered too.