Question amid the Kansas rubble.

May 14, 2007 at 9:09 am 1 comment

As I sat down to breakfast at my hotel here in Redding the headline on my copy of USA TODAY caught my eye: Can this town by saved?  It is the story of the issues surrounding attempts to rebuild Greensburg, Kansas, the town almost totally destroyed by a tornado 10 days ago.

As I read the story I wondered what it must be like to lose everything.  To wake up one day and all of your material goods, your house, business, vehicles, schools, hospitals, churches gone.  Reduced to rubble in 90 seconds.  Have you given it any thought? 

What kind of value do we place on our stuff?  There is no question almost all of us have way to much stuff and the only thing it seems we know to do about it is make jokes, have a garage sale or build a bigger house.  There is a trend among people my age and older who are retiring, not to smaller houses but to bigger ones!  Not downsizing but up-sizing mostly to have a place to keep their stuff and have the grand-kids over once or twice a year.

If we are followers of Jesus do we have any responsibility related to our stuff and the acquisition of more?  Of course, we know we do.  Apparently we can’t take it with us and it will all burn some day, so what does that tell us about the way we are to view it today.

Linda and I have faced this question squarely this year.  We sold our house, had a huge garage sale and then moved into about 350 sg. ft.  Everything we own is now in the trailer or in a storage unit that is 10×10 and not full.  I just downsized the storage unit from a 10×20 last week.  When we decided to make this huge change it was not for any spiritual reasons per se but so we could be mobile and free to move about the country. 

What we discovered was real freedom.  Freedom to follow the Spirit, really follow Him, anywhere at almost any time.  Linda wrote about it last week in a post titled “You live in a fifth wheel?”  She wrote of just one example of how freedom from stuff provides freedom to serve.  My time in Redding this week would not have been possible if we were still taking care of 5 acres, a house and a barn.

I have been reading a lot of Scripture related to the Holy Spirit and this one came to mind as I was writing this morning:  For the Kingdom of God (the rule and reign of God on this earth, now) is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but living a life of goodness, and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  What I want my life to be about until I go to Jesus is just what that verse says.  Then if a tornado comes and blows our trailer to Kansas, I haven’t lost anything and I still have goodness, peace and joy, whether I live or die.  That is freedom.  The great “theologian” Janis Joplin sang it very well: “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” (Me and Bobbie McGee:Kris Kristofferson)

No, you don’t have to sell it all and live in a fifth wheel, though you would probably like it better than you might think, but I think you do, as a follower of Jesus, need to think about whether your life now is measured by goodness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit or measured by how much stuff you have and how much goodness, joy and peace is lost servicing it.

What would your life be if you lived in Greensburg, Kansas?


Entry filed under: Christianity, Culture, Faith, Jesus, News, Thoughts, Uncategorized.

On earth in the same way it is in heaven? Who’s on?

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Mark  |  May 15, 2007 at 1:44 pm

    I think it was Henry Nouwen who talked about becoming “downwardly mobile.” I’ve actually given a lot of thought to simplifying life, streamlining both possessions and the busy drivenness we too often equate with spirituality. Linda’s blog last week intrigued me because it confirmed my suspicions about simplicity.

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