"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroy nor where thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
When I was in college, we cleaned out my mom-mom's house. At that point, she hadn't passed away, but had relocated to a nursing home in upstate NY. So my extended family caravanned off to Long Island and cleaned out her 4-bedroom house.
It was an experience I would never forget.
This was her life encapsulated in one space, and we had the job of judges -- deciding what would stay and what would go. Let's put it this way: we rented a massive garbage dump and it was overflowing. We also took multiple trips to the local Salvation Army.
In the end, not much was salvaged. Mainly, we kept large pieces of furniture, the paintings, and other "major" things. But the "minor" things -- the important newspaper clippings, the sentimental notes, the small momentos -- were just tossed aside. It wasn't as if we didn't want to honor what she deemed important -- even we felt connected to these peeks into the past -- but there was just no way for us to save 85+ years of memories.
And so, in the end, we threw it all away.
"...where moth and rust destroy..."
The memory of cleaning my mom-mom's house burned itself deeply into my brain. I used to be incredibly sentimental when it came to saving things, but after that experience, I try to be very choosy about what I decide to keep.
But lately, I've been thinking that maybe I need to take it a step further. Instead of merely letting go of things that would cause needless clutter or even idolatry, I think I need to be more choosy about what I decide to buy or collect or even take for free. I need to be more choosy about what items are necessary and what items I am holding onto because I can't let go. When accumulating more stuff, I should start asking, "Why do I need this? How long will I need this for? Will I be throwing it away the next time we move?" I need to be more choosy about what types of things I buy and how throwing it away (or even throwing its packaging away) will affect the ever-growing landfills. When out shopping, I should start asking, "Is all this packaging necessary? Could I buy this from somewhere else that would be more environmentally-friendly?"
I am addressing two important issues here:
1) We ought to guard our hearts from being too connected to the things of this world.
"Jesus said to him, 'No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."
It's not sinful to want to remember and have momentos -- God takes delight when we find His joy through our experiences. But we can't let these things become too important to us; we must hold on to them with a loose grip.
2) We ought to take our jobs to take care of the earth seriously.
"And God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.'"
God told us to have dominion over all the earth. How often do we consciously live out this cultural mandate? It ought to affect every area of life -- even beyond the environment. How do we -- as mothers, as students, as business people, as bloggers, as baristas -- fulfill the call to restore the earth for the Lord? Shouldn't we, as Christians, be leading the way in the name of the Lord?
And so as we pack up our lives and face our move tomorrow, I want to move ahead conscientious of what I am accumulating and why. I don't want to move ever year or two only to throw out garbage bag after garbage bag of stuff. I don't want things to collect dust and must and sit in a basement, largely unused and only existing "just in case" we may need it someday. I want to move forward with a loose grip on the things I already have, and with a critical eye of the things I am obtaining from hereon out.