In the last three years, life circumstances have caused me to move three different times to three different states. (No, I’m not in the witness protection program!) With each subsequent move, I seem to be gathering more “stuff” while downsizing living space. As a result, I have not been able to fit all of my worldly possessions under my roof. Over the last three years, I have had to place most of my valuables into the ever popular storage unit.
I went to the unit last month looking for something “important”. I didn’t know exactly which box it was in which means I had to search them all. That’s always fun. Opening boxes in a storage unit is like attending a Squirrel Christmas party with amnesia. You can’t remember what you buried or where you put it but opening it can feel like Christmas morning! In my case, it felt more like Hoarders meets Sanford & Son.
It took me 30 minutes to finally find that “important” document. I literally opened every box and bin and it should not have surprised me to learn which one it was in… the last one. Ugh. Why didn’t I look at the last one first? I began to wonder, “If it was so important, what was it doing in the back of my storage unit?” As I opened each bin, I found myself saying things like, “Why do I still have THAT thing?” or “What in the world is that and how did it get in my stuff?” or “Wow, I borrowed that four years ago from so-and-so and need to return it!”. I realized that most everything I had – I really didn’t need or want anymore. And when I came to THAT conclusion, I started to calculate how much money I have spent on all these rental units. All in all, I rented for over 16 months at a tune of $2232.30. Add the cost of U-haul rentals and moving expenses. Ouch. That’s a lot of money to store a nut I don’t need.
I was reminded of Jesus’ words in Matthew 8:20, “Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” In a very humbling moment, I realized that I had more junk in my storage unit than Jesus had His entire life. Though He probably stayed with family or friends most nights, He didn’t have a place He called home. Where did He keep His important papers? Where did He store all the junk He didn’t need? WHY didn’t He have any of this stuff I deem so “important”? Here are a few reasons:
- We have different priorities. What I think is important in this world and what Jesus thinks are important in this world are TOTALLY different. I chase things. He chases people. I keep my important things in a safe-deposit box. Or a special drawer. Or a locked storage unit. Everything important to Him cannot be contained in an earthly box.
- We have different treasures. My treasures tend to be the ones you can find on “earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.” (Matthew 6) His are clearly in heaven, protected from all decay.
- We see different things. I have natural eyes that look too often at natural things. He has supernatural vision. He sets His mind on things above, and not on earthly things (Colossians 1). Apparently, I’m spiritually nearsighted. As a result, I walk by sight. He only steps by faith.
- He understands, what I sometimes forget – you can’t take it with you. Having come from a throne in Heaven, He recognized that nothing down here would make the trip back. At His death, the only earthly possession He had were the clothes on His back and even those were taken by Roman soldiers inadvertently fulfilling a prophecy (John 19, Psalm 22) in the process. The souvenirs He gathered from our planet were the walking lame, the seeing blind, the hearing deaf, the speaking mute, the living dead. The only thing He ever intended to take back “home” were changed lives. EVERYTHING else, by comparison, was not worth storing. After losing EVERY earthly possession he owned, Job blurted out, “Naked I come from my mother’s womb, naked I shall return.” (Job 1:21) There is a good reason you never see a U-haul behind a funeral hertz.
After my storage unit epiphany, I decided to move every box back home and go through every bin. It took me about three weeks and numerous trips to Goodwill, but I did it. No more storage units. No more monthly fees! I may never pack as lightly as Jesus did, but I am less encumbered today than I was yesterday. And it feels good.
It’s not bad to have stuff to store. The important thing is to make sure you own your things and that your things don’t own you. Keep all your possessions in perspective. Remember, you can’t take it with you.
With that being said, what will you be leaving behind? Changed lives or a change of clothes?