Lugging Stuff Around

by | May 9, 2023 | Vital Men Devotions

One of my roles here at my organization helping host short-term mission teams (a role I really enjoy). Over the years I have gotten used to team members carefully weighing their suitcases before they leave, often weighing in at 49.99lbs (flights have 50lbs limits). Its always made perfect sense to me: of course team members are going to a) bring lots of clothing to our sweat enduring climate (I go through three changes of clothing per day) and b) they are going to return with souvenirs for their friends and families. I never gave it a second thought until I hosted a team from another Latin American country. They came with the tiniest of carryons and had no concern about stuff. In fact, they had to watch every cent they spent and wear the same clothes multiple times. Look, I’m not judging my North American friends, just pointing out how normal lugging stuff around is for us. Come to think of it, are we lugging around the stuff, or is it lugging us around. Who is really in control: us or stuff?

Every year more products are rolled out that the world screams that we HAVE to have. Put another way, a pretty prominent message the world sends us is that the purpose of life is to collect lots of stuff possible. The Bible, however, paints a very different story. 

And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Matthew 19:16-22

The problem with the young man in this story was his inability to trust that Jesus was sufficient for his life. Jesus was simply not enough for him. He chose to instead buy the world’s lie that happiness and purpose is found in stuff. The problem with the world’s view is twofold. First, we can never accumulate enough stuff to forever be happy. Second, no matter how much stuff we accumulate, we can’t have it forever. The only way to have happiness that lasts forever is to realize that Jesus is sufficient. To realize that Jesus’ love and grace is what we really need to be happy now and forever. Jesus is sufficient for our lives. We need to stop desiring so much other stuff, and instead realize that we already have what we really need, and that is the love and grace of Christ Jesus. 

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