The past few weeks I’ve been mediating a (very small) group of women as we walk through Jen Hatmaker’s Bible study The 7 Experiment: Staging Your Own Mutiny Against Excess. This week our study was on possessions, with an emphasis on giving away some of what we have. Jen especially recommends finding those who actually need what you have, not just doing a mass donation to a thrift store – not that there’s anything wrong with that.
We’ve already attacked the clothing problem, which is a big one for me when it comes to my kids. My first donation was to a family who needed boys’ clothes for twins who wear the same size as my David. I literally had twice as much clothing as he could wear. It’s taken some new self-control to not peruse the racks for my daughter given the change in season – I love finding a deal on little girls’ clothes. But those deals add up. And as Hatmaker points out, it’s money that can be spent well in other places instead of us buying into the lie that our kids and ourselves need to look perfect at all times to be an important member of society (or something like that).
But other than clothes, I didn’t really think I had a possessions problem. We’ve lived in 5 different homes in 9 years of marriage, and each time we move I end up donating boxes of items. We live in a small apartment and just don’t have a ton of space, so – compared to many – we don’t have a lot of stuff. They key word there is “compared.”
It’s easy to defend your choices when you compare them to others. But when you compare them to God’s outline? It’s a different story.
I thought it would be hard to match the items I wanted to donate with people in my city who needed them. But by clicking here and there on Google and Facebook, I’ve found organizations who help those in need and without homes. I’ve seen personal pleas from families who won’t have heat this winter or don’t have clothing for their infants.
Compared to many, we don’t have much? Compared to the standards God upholds, I have everything I need and plenty more to give.
Clearing out stuff is not that hard. Refusing to buy new stuff is the difficult part. Choosing to put funds and work toward those who really need it, that is God’s way. The path I hope to choose in the future.
“The one who oppresses the poor person insults his Maker, but one who is kind to the needy honors Him.” Proverbs 14:31 HCSB
When Jessie Weaver is not busy being the resident ParentLife Blogger, she writes at Vanderbilt Wife and also for magazines like HomeLife and ParentLife. She lives in Chattanooga with her husband, where they run after three kids under 5.