Since the dawn of time, or since I was a little boy- whichever is longer, I can remember being told that too much of a good thing would be bad for me. I could not understand if something was good, how then could too much good be bad? Of course, my early onset selective memory conveniently misplaced the upset stomach that resulted from a solo attack on a quart of chocolate ice cream; or the burned back and shoulders suffered from not slathering on DP 45 sunscreen at the beach. Still, how could anyone have too many Legos, too many marbles, or enough video games? Our backyard pool could have been bigger, my bedroom was certainly not roomy, and my closet was just too small to be clean.
As a grown-up, I have come to realize that those childhood notions of needing more, without the necessity for good reasoning, do not go away with age; they just manifest into a more diverse and expensive collection of possessions. I am not alone in my thinking. All I have to do is walk my neighborhood on any weekend and gaze inside the open garage doors to see the results of ‘possession manifestation’. We all have collections of stuff scattered throughout our homes that have grown well beyond any planned parameters; it is human nature to be a gatherer. That is how in early times we learned to survive.
Since we no longer live in caves, at least not on purpose, why then do we continue to collect? Small Mason Jars filled with steel nuts, bolts, cap screws and washers – many of which were left over from assembly projects seemingly put together correctly line the shelves in the garage. Most screws have no matching washer or nut, and vice versa. Shirt, pants, dresses, and suits that haven’t fit since Junior Prom crowd your closet. An Exercise Bike collects dust in the formal dining room, a resolution gone badly. Books, CD’s, workout tapes; gently used, worn out, or never opened – we own them all. For some unknown reason, our need to keep these prized possessions long after their intended use is expired never seems to diminish. We collect and keep stuff, because as hard as we try, the things we collect cannot fulfill the need that drew us to collect it in the first place. Possessions we buy or that are given to us fulfill a short term need bringing happiness, but even if we had rows of storage units filled to their ceiling with gifts, that happiness will fade, and the true joy for which we search will remain hidden. True joy comes from God, settling upon our life like the warmth of the sun on tropical beach: ever-present, nourishing, enveloping.
The truth that gifts from God are perfect and eternal flows from noticing what is absent on a typical Saturday to-do list.
Never have I gone to the mall to return unneeded SALVATION.
Never have I gone to the dump to throw away broken PROMISES from God.
Never have I stacked left over GRACE in our storage unit.
Never has His FOREGIVENESS gone stale, and needed to be thrown out.
Never have I looked for a place in the garage to store His unused LOVE.
I am not anti-possession, believing we should live humbly in a tent somewhere in the forest. God sometimes chooses to honor us with good fortune, and we should gratefully accept, and share His generosity with others. I try to remember though, that His gifts are always enough, never too much, are perfectly placed exactly when I need them, and are freely given – I don’t even have to ask. Thank you God.
Thanks for reading.
Thanks for sharing. You know I always enjoy your “essays”!