The title for this post comes from those great philosophers of my generation, CAKE. I have always loved these lyrics, but have realized recently that I’ve been binge drinking the American Kool-Aid of conspicuous consumption. While I used to only have a few favorite outfits, especially during my college days, now I have half a walk-in closet full of clothes that I mostly feel so-so about. And this is only one example of the needless excess that permeates my house (which, by the way, is too big for our three-person family).
In Sunday school yesterday our beloved teacher talked about our desire to hoard “just in case,” especially when times have been hard, say 80+ years ago when we had this Great Depression on. Certainly the most recent recession has made us a little nervous about our ability to maintain our middle class appearances, but even that fear speaks to a desire to look as if we are succeeding no matter what (and moreover, to look like it is just natural for us to have it all).
Fear has lead me to develop some less-than-helpful-for-my-community habits, like keeping old dishes (what if the new ones chip?), clothes my daughter has outgrown (what we if we decide to have another and it’s a girl and then we have to get stuff all over again?), or old computers and phones (what if there’s important info on there and some hacker goes to Goodwill, finds it, and destroys my life? Didn’t that happen in a Liam Neeson movie?).
So, I feel pretty convicted during our Sunday school class yesterday and began to look around the house. In addition to old stuff and duplicates, we have more food than we will ever eat before it goes bad, more pans than I will ever need to cook with (even if I need to bake something for the entire church), and more pens, pencils, bags, etc. than we will ever need. EVER.
The question becomes why am I hoarding this stuff? What am I afraid of? That God will stop providing and I will regret giving perfectly fine baby clothes to our local charities, thus helping clothe some other precious child? Would I ever regret such a thing? God forbid. So, my work for this holiday break is to go through the house and pack up everything we don’t use or believe to be beautiful. If I believe that God will provide, that He loves me and calls me to love my brothers and sisters, then this work is what I should have been doing all along.
Exodus 16:18 NIV: And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed.