This past weekend, I felt the need to get rid of some things. I went through my closets and donated four boxes of clothes to Goodwill. There were clothes in the depths of my closet that I haven’t even worn this decade. Since returning from the recent mission trip, it seems necessary to simplify my life. And I’m not totally sure why … Ireland isn’t exactly a third-world country where I saw people in utter poverty. It’s not like I went to Africa like Annie or to Nicaragua like Ally (both are out of the country right now on mission trips—go check out their blogs and then come back here!) However, taking a week to totally focus on serving God in a foreign country—without television or cell phones or internet (except to post a few quick blog entries)—shifted my priorities. I feel the need to have less stuff and less clutter in my life.
I am reminded of a verse that I’ve always pondered. In Luke 14:33, Jesus says, “So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.” I have always wondered how literally we should take this verse. I don’t believe Jesus is asking me to go out and give away everything I own and live on the street in a box. Instead, I believe that he is asking us to hold loosely. So often, we cling tightly to possessions and surround ourselves with stuff because we believe it makes our lives more meaningful or entertaining. “Giving up everything we own” means giving up our hold on things—acknowledging that none of it is ours and remembering that our Father is the one who gives and takes away.
It is so easy for me to get caught up in the latest fashion trends and fill my closet with clothes. Or to feel envious of someone’s beautiful home and fill up my house with decorations. It is easy to lose perspective when I’m focused on myself. I think our downward-trending economy is teaching all of us that we can live without a lot of things that we previously considered necessities. More than ever, I am learning to cling tightly to my Jesus instead of my possessions.
What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts on this verse and the concept of holding loosely.