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How Much Stuff Do You Need?

Maybe you don’t need belongings as much as you think.


I have a lot of stuff. I’ve got over 7 pairs of shoes, at least 8 button downs, literally hundreds of books (of which I have probably only read 10%), piles of articles I’d like to read, but haven’t in months. The list goes on. This is not a confessional. This is an attempt to follow Jesus more closely. I often wonder what Jesus thinks about all of our stuff. Is He glad we have it and it plays a part in our happiness or does He long for us to give a lot of it away? I do not know, but I plan on asking Him once with Him in heaven. In the meantime, I think we can all agree that being slave to stuff is not good.

You might be a slave to stuff if…

  • It hurts to give any of your stuff away. This also confirms that you are a human, because I think everyone feels this no matter how attached you are to your stuff. I also think the hurt is so good, because in dying little deaths daily, more of Christ can live and reign in our hearts.
  • You have more than you need. This one is tough, because I know I have stuff that I think I need, but is actually a want. Who is to judge? This goes back to the first indicator of our slave-to-stuff status. I think it is always wiser to air on the side of having too much. The reason being: we are citizens of a heavenly realm, a Kingdom ruled by the man who conquered death. That is crazy. Thus, I think these attempts to, in all things, act in such a way that acknowledges our status as heirs to that King and his Kingdom, should be done.

Ideas to say no to stuff and yes to Jesus:

  • Give something away today. Be it your money, your time, or a possession. I hope that it hurts. God wants us to look more and more like Jesus daily. I had two yard sales this past Spring in an attempt to get rid of stuff I do not need and make some cold hard cash to throw at my college debt. It feels so good to let go of something you don’t need.
  • Pray that God would help you discern what you need, then give the rest away.

One of my friends in college put this to the test. For an entire week he slept right outside our cafeteria (one of the most trafficked places on campus) leading communal prayer every hour on the hour, and selling most of his stuff to any interested passer-by. I joined him for a night with my sleeping bag and pillow. It was embarrassing, restless, and liberating. What if we did that?

How much should I give/tithe? C.S. Lewis says this: “I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc. is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say that are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditures excludes them.”

May all of our giving pinch or hamper us.


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Houston Clark

part-philosopher, full-bibliophile, this child of God grew up in the PCA not knowing he believed in predestination until his ``liberal`` Episcopal next-door neighbor told him that's what ``PCA-ers`` believe. The only thing he wears at all times is his thoughts/feelings about everything (and maybe his Chris Paul socks). He's as curious as Curious George and loves getting things done (see David Allen's book with same title).