Wednesday, August 5, 2020 01:07

Leaving It All Behind

no new stuff, stewardship, second coming of Christ, judgment day

I woke up Sunday morning and realized Harold Camping was wrong . . . again.  Jesus did not return as the modern, misguided prophet had predicted.  Actually, I felt very secure going to sleep Saturday night.  Jesus’ statement in Mark 13:32 is clear: “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”  So I was certain Jesus would not return on May 21.

But, it has caused me to reflect.  When that day comes (or when I die, whichever comes first) I will leave all my stuff behind.  Actually, it’s a freeing thought!

As you know, for the purposes of this blog about the challenge of buying NO NEW STUFF for 30 Days, I have defined “stuff” as something that has material substance. I admit I have plenty of that kind of stuff.  And so do you if you live in America and have not taken a vow of poverty.

Therefore, someday I’ll be leaving all my earthly possessions behind—no matter their value, real or perceived.  If I don’t get around to cleaning the basement before then, well, I guess it will be somebody else’s problem. I have a stewardship responsibility for my material stuff which I take seriously. Someday I will arrive at heaven’s gate either to hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” or not.

But I am also thinking about other kinds of stuff.  Hallelujah, I’m also going to leave behind the baggage of my past.  Having been reared in a Christian home and saved at a pre-elementary-school age, by God’s grace I’ve led pretty much a choir-boy life.  But that is not to imply that it has by any means been sinless.  I’ve done plenty of things that haunt me nearly every time I take communion.  I’ll be glad to leave not only the guilt and shame but also the memories of that stuff behind.

And then there are the burdens of the present.  I must be careful here.  I don’t want to be accused of catastrophizing.  My life is pretty sweet.  But there’s still a whole lot of day-to-day stuff that I carry. (Don’t you?)  The troubles that Jesus warned about (John 16:33) are real.  The worries and cares of this world (Mark 4:19) are real.  Like Paul but to a lesser degree, the “burden of my concern for all the churches” (2 Cor. 11:28) is also with me as I serve various churches regarding their capital campaigns and coach and consult with pastors.  If I am looking for something to worry about, I don’t have to look too far.  I want my kids to continue in their walk with the Lord.  I want my grandchildren to come to faith and follow Jesus.  I have friends who are out of work.  I know pastors who’ve been mistreated and dumped by their churches.  There are always the sick. The dying.  The lost.  

Whoever we are, whatever the burdens we bear, what one of us has not found meaning in the words “Soon I will be done with the troubles of de world, troubles of de world, troubles of de world. . . . Goin’ home to be with God.”

Job said “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart” (Job 1:21).  That ancient example of suffering uttered a comprehensive declaration that we all at times identify with.  Someday we will leave it all behind.  Not just the tangible stuff that collects around our feet as we travel this earthly path.  But also the intangible (and often more weighty) stuff that collects in the crevices of our souls.  When that day comes, and I know it will, I shall be glad to be leaving it all behind.

Questions:  What weighs more heavily on you?  The tangible stuff or the intangible stuff?  This may not be the place for “true confessions,” but in general terms, is there stuff that you’ll be glad to leave behind?

Day 23: NEW STUFF = 0

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© 2011, Linden Kirby, Excel Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. 

2 Responses to “Leaving It All Behind”

  1. Fred says:

    Thanks for the insightful and thought-provoking blogs.  I'm curious — and maybe you've spoken to this and I missed it — how do you know when some thing is a legitimate need as opposed to a luxury.  For instance, if I see a book that looks interesting because of the topic, do I buy it simply because it looks interesting or is interesting not sufficient a reason?  The same could be applied to exercise equipment — when is a purchase a need, rather than a want/luxury?

    • says:

      Luxury is clearly a relative term, so I think we have to allow each person to define that for themselves. Sometimes, too, the Holy Spirit brings convictions to a person that cause that follower of Christ to draw the line in a different place. I try not to judge where others draw the line. I have a hard enough time with my own lines.