Everything I own is in sitting in a truck. True. It’s a really big truck, but at this very moment everything from my dining room table to my hair dryer to my prized possession cowboy boots is jammed into a single U-Haul trailer.
And you know what? I’m doing just fine without it.
Yesterday my family and I packed up everything we own. Today we will begin our new life in a new house and a new town. There’s a lot to think about like leaving friends, learning to live in a new town, and meeting new neighbors. But most of my headspace has been filled with thoughts about stuff.
What stuff should I keep and what should I throw away? How much stuff can I cram in this box? (Not much.) Where can I find more boxes to fill with more stuff? What if my stuff gets broken or lost or stolen along the way? How will my stuff look in the new house? Will I still like my stuff when it’s hanging on new walls and in new closets?
It’s been a little exhausting really. And one thing has proven true. Stuff is just stuff. My stuff hasn’t given me comfort or joy or happiness in these days of transition. In fact, it’s been more like an avalanche that I could barely shovel myself out of.
When the door was closed on our U-Haul full of stuff, it was very clear that everything that mattered was loading up into the cab of the truck. My family matters. I can love them well, and they can love me back even without much stuff. My faith matters. God has been faithful through this season of change. He has provided all along the way, and He didn’t need any stuff to do it.
Every once in a while I think it’s good for us to be reminded that stuff is just stuff. It doesn’t last. It can’t make us happy long-term. Eventually it will end up in a box (or a dump), and we will find that we are just fine without it. This is the warning Jesus gave for us in Scripture.
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal" (Matt. 6:19–20).
Moths. Rust. Changing fashion. Mold. Thieves. Time. Cracks. Technology. These are the things that will eventually push our stuff right into the trashcan. We will replace it with more stuff, and the cycle will continue.
Here’s a little perspective: What did you get for Christmas last year? How about the year before that? What was your favorite birthday present two years ago? Can’t remember? Even the stuff we really, really like can’t hold our attention for long. Stuff isn’t bad, but when we spend our time and energy and money chasing stuff to make us happy, we will find ourselves, well, unhappy.
It’s a simple lesson, and one that Jesus taught a lot.
Stuff is just stuff.
It cannot heal your heart, give you hope, or provide you with purpose.
Take it from someone whose stuff is jammed into boxes at the moment; you can live without your stuff. In light of that simple truth, let me urge you to join me in following Jesus’ wise advice in pursuing the things that will last forever today.
"But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal" (Matt. 6:20).