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Moving Day

May 28, 2014
How many boxes does it take to pack your entire life?

How many boxes does it take to pack your entire life?

Monday was moving day for me. As an itinerant pastor, it’s a day that I am quite familiar with; something I expect every few years or so. Except this time I didn’t have to move because I was being transferred to another church. I had to move because the owner of my townhouse decided not to renew my lease. She wanted to move back in, so I had to find a new place to live, pack up all of my stuff, and create a new home.

This was my 8th move in the last 11 years. Since I am an itinerant pastor, having served in 5 churches in the last 11 years, and a single income family, it is difficult for me to consider buying a house at this stage in life. I have never owned my own home. And as stressful as it may be to live one year at a time, living lease-to-lease, moving always gives me a chance to give thanks.

 

I can give thanks because it is a reminder that I don’t own anything. Just like each place I live, everything I have, even my own life, is only temporary. Moving reminds me that everything I have is not something I have earned or something I deserve. Everything I have is a gift from God. And by being reminded that I do not own these things I can reflect on how generous and gracious God is by providing all that I need.

 

An entire notebook to remind me: "None of this is yours!"

An entire notebook to remind me: “None of this is yours!”

Each time I move I also get rid of more and more “stuff.” I get disgusted with myself that I have fallen prey to the consumerism the world teaches us to love, and I realize that I could be living so much more simply. All of these things that once seemed so important, that I just had to have, I realize I used just a couple of times before I forgot about them or misplaced them.

Loving this book. Great to read. Even better to follow what it says.

Loving this book. Great to read. Even better to follow what it says.

I’ve been inspired by Mike Slaughter’s book Change the World and its radical focus on mission. One of his challenges to his church each Christmas is to remember that Christmas is not your birthday. He encourages his members that whatever amount they spend on gifts for family/friends at Christmas, they donate the same dollar amount to mission ministries. It’s quite an eye opener. It made me wonder what it would look like if I took the same amount I spent on myself, for clothes, books, and “stuff,” and gave that to mission ministries. I guarantee it would make me think more carefully about what I buy from now on. Giving shouldn’t just be something easy, like donating old clothes we don’t like anymore; it should be sacrificial. It should push us out of our comfort zone so that we may recognize the abundance we have been given, and learn to appreciate life more simply.

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