It’s hard to believe that 5 years have almost gone and it’s time for me to be leaving Dewsbury. Paul and I are both retiring and we will be moving to Worksop where we will be close to our daughter Hilary and her family. We are looking forward to being able to spend more time with the grandchildren.
Everything will have to be packed, loaded onto a removal lorry and unpacked at the other end. Although we don’t have to “down size”, it has been an opportunity to look at all the stuff we have accumulated and decide what we need to take with us. I discovered a Lent Project, “40 bags in 40 days”, which challenged participants to get rid of a bagful (large or small!) of unwanted things every day in Lent and donate their unwanted goods to a charity shop or recycle them. It could be a good discipline to take up every Lent.
Thinking about packing up all our goods and chattels and taking them with us has made me increasingly aware of all those people in the world who have very few possessions, maybe just one bagful. Many in our world are living in desperate poverty with not even a change of clothes, or cooking utensils. Others have to flee for their lives, taking with them only as much as they can carry; leaving home and security and walking towards an unknown future.
There is so much that we take for granted and forget to be thankful for. Do we have so much “stuff” that we can’t appreciate any of it?
The members of the early church shared everything they had (Acts 4: 32). What would our lives and our world be like if our resources and possessions were freely available to others? So often our possessions possess and
define us, rather free us to serve God and others. Does it help if we consider our possessions as held in trust, to be readily available to others and shared wherever there is a need. Can we live simply so that others may simply live?
Jesus spoke out against the materialism of his day: Do not store up treasure on earth, but store up treasure in heaven (Matt 6: 19,20). It’s not what we have that matters, but who we are. In the parable of the Great Pearl Jesus
challenged his hearers that if they want to know the riches of the Kingdom of Heaven they will have to dispose of all that they have to obtain it.
I’m not sure I can do any more clearing out, packing beckons! But we should all, from time to time, look at all that we have and ask ourselves, “what is the most important thing in my life?” Or, rather, “Who is most important in my life?” And can I put my trust in God who promises he will meet all our needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus (Phil 4: 19)
Rev Judith Satchell