Ever walk into your closet and think, “I have nothing to wear?”
Yeah me neither (cause I’m a manly man.) Even though that’s true, I actually have had this thought before. And if you’re honest with yourself, the chances are you’ve said it too. I’d bet on it. Actually, I wouldn’t because I’m a Christian, duh. Or would I?
My wife claims that I actually have more clothes than she does.
But that’s absurd. I claim she’s crazy. Even though she’s wrong (dead wrong) she’s right about one thing – I have way too many clothes. Way too many shoes. Way too many hats. Way too many belts. You get the point. So the thought of not having anything to wear is absolutely ludicrous. I hope and pray none of us have ever been in the situation of literally having nothing with which to clothe our backs. I sure haven’t. Of course we have clothes. What I really think we mean when these thoughts come running through our heads, is that we don’t see anything we want to wear. What we see is old and used. It’s become ho-hum to us.
I have to remind myself how rich I truly am.
God’s countless blessings around me go unnoticed at times. Life’s daily needs, like food, shelter, clothing, water, heat, electricity and so on, have become my norm. I’ve grown accustomed to them because I’ve never been without. I expect them. Jeff Manion hits the nail on the head in his book Satisfied when he says that, “The tragedy is not that we who occupy the middle class are rich when compared to the larger world but that we are rich and utterly unaware. We are rich and forget that we are rich. The scandal is not how much we have but how little we think we have, and thus, how much more we expect and demand.”
It’s like walking into Golden Corral and thinking there’s nothing here to eat. It’s like walking into the mall and saying they don’t have any stores worth visiting. It’s like going to the beach and asking where the water is. When I put it like that, it sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? Truth is…I am so very rich, but totally oblivious to my own wealth at times. I bet most of us are.
[tweetthis]Jesus said something like, “We don’t take anything with us when we die” (1 Timothy 6:7).[/tweetthis]
And I tell you what, this verse always hits me right between the eyes. More like in the heart. We all have attachments to things and it’s hard to give things away. I also go into my closet all the time thinking, goodness gracious I have way too much stuff. Which usually leads me to ‘clean shop.’ Or at least attempt to. You see, there definitely are times where I find myself aware of my abundance. But awareness and action are two different animals. That’s why it’s so dern hard for me to give things away (even if I haven’t worn something for a couple of years). Again, it’s ridiculous. Mr. Rogers echoes this in his book: “The older I get the more I come to understand that the things we possess can never bring us ultimate happiness. Contrary to what is implied in the commercials, nothing we buy can take away our loneliness, fill our emptiness or heal our brokenness.”
What the heck was Jesus talking about when He was speaking of an abundant life?
I know firsthand he didn’t mean lots of clothes or stuff. Nothing I’ve ever bought or won or accomplished has ever brought me peace or true happiness. Sure I’ve had some pretty incredible things happen to me, but they in no way gave me any fulfillment. When I was drafted 5th overall in the 2007 MLS Superdraft, one question pierced my heart. When I won the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 2007 with the New England Revolution, the same question nagged me. And yep, you guessed it, the same thing happened in 2010 when I won the MLS Cup with the Colorado Rapids. That question was, “This is it?” I don’t know what I expected but I expected more than I got. And ain’t that the case for everything this earth ever gives us? We all have a hole in our hearts. And we all try to fill it with everything under the sun. I know I sure did and still do at times. I tried drugs, sex, alcohol, approval of others, success, fame…you name it. But nothing ever filled that deep dark hole, except for Jesus. Stuff doesn’t give us true joy. It might make us happy for a time, but in the end it will always fail us. Stuff doesn’t make us important. Stuff doesn’t make us rich. Stuff doesn’t fix our problems. Stuff doesn’t validate us. All it does is complicate things.
So how do we change?
Shame ourselves? Nah. I’ve tried this many times and it doesn’t work. It has to be a heart change. That’s what Jesus is after anyway. We will not defeat greed by focusing on greed. [tweetthis]I believe we defeat greed, materialism, self-absorption, selfishness, etc., by focusing on serving others. [/tweetthis] Service is the pathway to significance. And giving. Now that’s something we can all get down with right? Wrong. Myself included. In theory it sounds great. But actually doing it’s the hard part. It means we have to sacrifice. It means maybe we can’t go on that vacation this year. We might not be able to upgrade the car or kitchen or TV. Bummer. That sucks. But does it really? Of course it would be nice to have a bigger TV or a nicer car, but it has zero lasting impact. And seeing a homeless man or woman receive a warm jacket with gratitude in the middle of winter kicks a nice car and a bigger TV’s arse (FO REAL!).
I want to close with a challenge.
This is a challenge for me just as much as it’s for you. I challenge us all to give away six things this week leading up to Christmas. Six things that you own. It’ll be hard, but worth it. I promise! Don’t think about it, just Nike it. Again Jesus is so right, “It’s truly so much better to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35.)