The mark of this summer was STUFF—and not just a little, but an overwhelming amount of stuff. A family member diagnosed with cancer took the diagnosis as reason to begin cleaning out the house she has lived in for most of my life. With the help of a group of friends, a much-needed purge at church was completed. And naturally this led me to begin a serious downsize of unnecessary things around my house.
Malachi 3:10 says, “‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the LORD Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.’”
We’re there. Truly, Lord, we are there.
What starts out as blessing all too often becomes the curse of overabundance. Things become a distraction and chore, clutter overwhelms, and stuff renders rooms unusable for their intended purpose.
One day during this exhaustive season, I read a devotion that encouraged me to pray for a generous spirit. A generous spirit is one that takes John the Baptist’s lead. He suggested that if we have two sets of clothes, we be willing to give one away. He told the people standing on the banks of the Jordan that the fruit of repentance meant they were to quit extorting (tax collectors), to be content (soldiers), and to share their excess (everyone else).
Maybe we don’t extort money, but we might be guilty of withholding money from people we cross paths with who could use it. The maid at the hotel making minimum wage would probably appreciate a ten-dollar tip. To the widow or single mom at church a hundred dollars may mean buying a much-needed pair of shoes or gas money to see relatives a few hours away. Contentment mingled with generosity will keep us from bringing more unneeded stuff into the house (even if it’s on sale or prettier than what we have) and instead use our “more” to bless others.
I’m learning there’s a reason Jesus said it’s more blessed to give than to receive. The hassle of storing, organizing, and cleaning things bogs me down, while the look on the face of the widow whose prayer has been answered or the thank-you note from the child whose life was changed is a delightful alternative.
Amber Albee Swenson is a writer, speaker, and blogger. Her husband and four children keep life exciting and give her lots to write and pray about. Mother, wife, and author are treasured positions, but child of God is her identity.
For more encouragement from Amber and other Time of Grace writers, sign up here to receive email notifications of new blog posts.