Over this past year, I have realized, we as Americans, have way too much stuff and I, personally, have too much stuff as well.
For me the quest for more stuff began as a child. I grew up in a lower middle class family. We were well fed and well kept, but there was not a lot of money for any extras. My toys would all fit in a small toy chest which my dad had bought unfinished and then painstakingly painted himself. All my wonderful treasures were kept in that small box. But as I grew I realized other kids had more toys, clothes and things than I. I realized their parents lived in nicer homes and drove newer cars. So my quest was to, at least eventually, have more. But did I really realize the consequences of my mission?
Now I have a house full of stuff: my stuff, my husband’s stuff, and my kids’ stuff. Everything seems to be spilling over out of boxes, closets, and cabinets. And my biggest fear is that I am teaching my daughters’ to want and need stuff, too. I look at the spread of toys that not only fill my daughters’ rooms, but also spill over into about a quarter of my 400-square-foot living room; frustrating me as I walk by since they are typically messy and unorganized. I look at my kitchen filled with gadgets, cookware and cups that we rarely use. My hobby room is full of supplies and gadgets. We have a collection of electronics, games and movies. More stuff than we could ever need, want or use. More clothes than we could ever wear.
I ask myself almost daily, “Do they really need all this stuff?” Several rationalizations pop into my head: “No, but we (or family or friends) spent good money on this stuff, so I just can’t get rid of it.” Or “Well, we may need this stuff later and I don’t want to have to buy more. So I can’t give it up just yet.”
So, how can I release myself of these ties to material possessions? Why do I worry about having things that make me happy? Why don’t I believe I have everything I need? Why do I store things thinking I may need them in the future?
I was recently reading an article about this subject that quoted this verse from the gospel of Luke: "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions" (Luke 12:15). And in the rest of this chapter of Luke, Jesus tells us not to worry about our lives, and God will take care of us.