Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. – 1 John 2:15-17
When we care a whole lot about things that we can touch, it often impacts the things we can’t touch. “Stuff” is not bad. The scripture of the day is clear that loving our stuff is bad. Author and church planter Jeff Christopherson puts it well in saying, “Jesus is against whatever we will not leave behind to follow Him.” How many things do we see around us every day that are screaming, “Buy me! This would make you happy! This would make your life better!” Hearing those messages over and over makes it hard not to begin to believe them.
But if our possessions are satisfying us and making us feel “comfortable enough,” they can become dangerous to us. When our strong desire for feeling secure or happy drives us to acquire more and more belongings, we are at risk of falling into a trap… “I need to be happy, so I need more stuff…” And that cycle never ends.
God has called us to deny our “self” (Luke 9:23), which includes being willing to let go of that strong desire to focus our time, energy, and money on accumulating possessions. So this week we are going to practice letting go of some things that make us feel comfortable. By letting go of our tight grip on our own conveniences, we can empathize with those around the world who don’t have an option of “comfort.” And who knows, letting go of your grip on some things in your life may just make you more available to hold on tight to God instead!
Research: What Can I Do?
For today’s research, you’re going to begin getting a little more specific. Look at your list of organizations. Start learning about exactly what they do and how they do it. Do they run off donations? Do they have long term projects that meet needs or do they focus on specific moments where people need help? Next, begin looking at how to volunteer or donate to these organizations. What’s the time commitment you’d need to make? What does your budget look like right now? Begin thinking about which organization you’d most like to work with.
Activity: What Do I Need?
Take some time today to look through your belongings. Think about what’s important to you and what’s not. What’s the difference between a need and a want? What are things you have that you need, and what is just stuff? Now comes the difficult part. Find something that you can give away. Try to think about things that have some meaning to you—this isn’t much of a challenge if you don’t want the thing in the first place! Give it to a friend or a donation center. Then reflect on how your life will be different without that thing. Try to put yourself in the shoes of someone who has nothing, or has lost everything. How can giving away something that’s important to you help you empathize with those people?