March 20, 2006
Here is a slightly revised 2004 column from the archives.
Getting rid of Ďall the crapí
I was recently
commiserating with a friend, also the father of small children, about how hard
it is to keep the house clean with energetic, active, creative kids at home.
ďBut what really gets to me about cleaning the house,Ē he said, ďis all the crap.Ē
Not just the kidsí stuff Ė the nonstop accumulation of toys and stuffed animals that overflow from toy bins, under beds and closets. The adult stuff Ė like the kitchen gadgets that clutter the counter, the cleaning stuff overflowing from under the kitchen sink, the tools in the garage, the yard stuff all over the lawn, the deck furniture, the CDs and electronic do-dads, and on and on.
The crap factor came to mind recently when I re-read Jesus' parable of the rich man in Luke 12. He had so much stuff, he had to tear down his barns to build bigger ones to hold it all.
I have friends who only half joke that they need a bigger house to hold all their crap. Funny thing is, after a while, we donít even see how much stuff we have. Relatives who are selling their home of 35 years were advised by the real estate broker to get rid of a lot of their accumulated junk. They were shocked. Their house was clean and neat. But filled with so much stuff, the house had a cluttered, claustrophobic kind of feel that would turn off potential buyers. After the dump runs and the yard sales, the house looked so good they wished they had done it long ago.
Jesus sent out his followers instructing them not to take a lot of stuff, and he warned them just before the parable of the rich man to beware of thinking life consisted in the accumulation of possessions. I think Jesus was hinting that when our lives are cluttered by possessions, ideas, loyalties and desires, itís harder to keep focused on living a Godly life.
Jesus kept things very simple, but he must have known how difficult it is for people to do likewise.
Iím going through my crap now and getting rid of the kids' broken and long-disused toys, the books I havenít read for 10 years, the clothes I havenít worn in 2 years and the food items in the cupboard I havenít touched in a year. Itís hard work, but the house looks a lot cleaner and in some spiritual sense that's hard to describe, I feel much freer.
--Rob Blezard, Webmaster and editor
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Read the note below!)
A Bible study for church leaders
who hate to ask for money
Here is a wonderful Bible study that explores the problems that result when leaders are afraid to ask for money. "We need a new attitude. Stewardship is an essential part of the gospel. Scripture calls Christians to be responsible for the mission and ministry of the church." Click here for this study, from the "Living in Abundance" series at Luther Seminary.
A miracle for 'Miracle Sunday'
"Yearly deficit budgets can rob us of hope long before the money runs out. That is what the miracle was about. We have hope. We see that God has blessed us with all that we need to do the work that God has given us." Click here for this column from pastor Dana Reardon. Click here to read other columns.
'School for Stewardship' Manual
"Converted Lives, Transforming Congregations" was the topic of a stewardship seminar held by Province I of the Episcopal Church. The good news for all of us who did not attend is that the Episcopal Church is making the resource materials available online for PDF download. Papers range from such topics as "year Round Stewardship" to "Gospel-based Discipleship." Click here for an index of these resources. From the Episcopal Church Stewardship Page.
Our Charge: To Do God's Work
"We must provide a way for each member of the body of Christ to exercise his or her gifts, including the gift of financial support to the church. We believe it is essential to ask for regular commitments which address the basic needs of the church. The early church took care of the basics by the people sharing everything they had, something that is probably not practical with today's lifestyle, but the concept provides the foundation for the commitments we make today." Click here for "Our Charge." By Lt. Col. David Penman, USMC, in the Lutheran Laity Movement Archives. This week's Treasure Chest offering.