My husband, Frank, is a hospice chaplain. He coaxed one patient into telling him what she wanted for Christmas. The sweet elderly patient said, “You know, I would really love to have a German chocolate cake.” As Frank relayed the story at dinner one night, I asked, “If you could pick only one special food to taste for one last time, what would you choose?” For my daughter, Hannah, it would be Grandma Connie’s turnip soup. For Frank, it would be anything made by his Grandma Martin. I would cherish the opportunity to eat Aunt Juanita’s homemade yeast rolls one more time.
After the devastating effects of multiple crises of 2020 and 2021, I have found myself dreaming about a simpler lifestyle where my family focuses on experiences together rather than the maintenance of all we have acquired. In fact, Frank and I set a goal of losing 5,000 pounds of “stuff” by the end of the year. We were off to a great start when he sold his 1974 Chevrolet El Camino and I gave away my digital baby grand piano. We have about 1,000 pounds to go to reach our goal.
We have eight bookcases representing 420 pounds crammed full of books in our home. I am embarrassed we have nearly a ton-and-a-half of books. Getting rid of just two of those bookcases full of books would close the gap substantially. I have often wondered whether Frank and I could whittle down our collection to 100 books each. I start to panic about which beloved books I would box to give away, and I get overwhelmed. It’s then I try to remind myself you can’t get to simpler without some sacrifice.
Our mission personnel often wrestle with this issue. After returning from stateside assignment, a friend shared the struggles of trying to fit a family of seven in an apartment with a little more than 900 square feet. It was impossible to keep all they acquired during their short term in the United States.
I hope Frank and I reach our goal of losing 5,000 pounds by the time we celebrate the birth of our Savior. Jesus led a simple life. The Bible offers great insight and wisdom for resource management. It is all His. Are we honoring God with our finances, time, possessions, abilities, and relationships? I am coming to realize I could honor God more if I had less “stuff.” Join me in slowing down, simplifying, and savoring this moment in time.
I want to be a faithful steward of all You have entrusted to my care. Our human tendency is to want to get more and more. Your system is based on giving. Teach me to be more like You.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
*Image by Brett Jorday at pexels.com.