Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My Ash Pile

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal." - Matthew 6:19

I heard someone say recently that "The more stuff I collect here on earth, the bigger ash pile I'll leave behind when I die." That idea really puts into perspective the skewed value we place on our stuff doesn't it? It seem recently that this mentality has been growing deeper and deeper roots into my heart. The more I downsize, give away and sell, the more I realize how much I still have and how much less I could still live without.

Devin and I are having a garage sale November 19th and 20th to raise money for our Africa trip (if you live in the Phoenix area and have anything to donate - we'll take it!), so this past weekend we started combing our closets for things to sell.

I was a bit baffled, and more than a little ashamed, to see the pile of clothes I was able to clear out of my closet. You see, I have already down-sized my clothing collection twice in the past few months and somehow I still had a full garbage bag of clothing to put in our garage sale. That is just ridiculous.

During the first round of downsizing, I got rid of some outfits that I didn't like all that much. The second round had me donating some things that I liked, but didn't wear all that often. But when I was looking through my closet for round three, I had to remove some clothing items that I really liked a whole bunch. There were many moments when I removed something from the hanger, put it back, glared at it and pulled it back out again with a sigh. But as I perused my still hefty (even after two trips to Good Will) stockpile of clothes, I thought, "What am I willing to give up so that I can go to Africa and love on some orphans?" With that thought in mind, my perspective on the worth of my clothing changed considerably. 

I mentioned this in last week's Radical post, but I'll say it again here. As I pulled out items to sell, I felt so foolish at my wasteful materialism. The cute jacket that I had to have for $25 will be lucky to snag $5 at a garage sale. Thinking about what the $20 difference could have bought instead (i.e 133 meals for a child in Africa) makes me so embarrassed, but I am thankful to be learning these lessons. I am grateful to have my eyes opened. I still have a long way to go, but I am starting to learn the contentment and fulfillment found in generosity.

"Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content." - 1 Timothy 6:6-8


  1. Proud of you and praying for your sale. I gave something that hurt last night too. It still stings a little, but when I realize what my birthday $ is going to do for someone in need, it makes any trinkets I would've bought with it pretty meaningless.

  2. great post. So true. I have been putting off going through my closet. I need to do it!! If you get a chance Marc Driscol did a sermon this week while we were in Seattle about Luke 20:20and 21 about storing up grain. Really good. Listen to it!

  3. I did a similar assessment this week of the antique museum that is my office. I cleared out a few things that I'll be bringing up to you Friday. I had a similar thought to yours..."I wonder how much I spent on this antique radio and what will it fetch now? What would the difference between the two numbers have done for someone in need?"

  4. I'm sure I have some stuff that I can donate for you guys to sell! I'll have to figure out a way to get it to you, but I'm all for getting rid of a pile of ash to help you and Devin out, so that you can spread God's love in Africa.


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