I've had at least three or four conversations in the past couple of weeks about one silly little thing. You see, I am definitely not a hoarder, but I am a saver. I am frugal. Waste not, want not, I tend to wave it around like a banner. I have been going through my kids' clothes and sorting the ones that they have outgrown, the ones that are just worn out and the ones that are too big. I always keep clothes that are in good condition for the younger siblings and generally only get rid of clothes completely when the younger two have grown out of them. And even then, I have a treasure box filled with sentimental clothes that will someday grace my grandchildren. After all of my sorting and organizing, I have about seven LARGE boxes and totes filled with clothes and shoes that will someday fit my kiddos and I have two boxes filled with clothes that I'd love to see my grandbabies in.
So the conversations I've had have been about this nagging little feeling that I shouldn't be keeping all these clothes for my kids to wear "someday." My well meaning friends have said that they too save things and suggested that it is wise and being a good steward to keep them, because I won't have to buy new clothes later. And which point in the conversation I mention that the verse that keeps sneaking it's way into my heart:
"Don't store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal."
Now, in the past when I have read this verse, I have taken it very figuratively. I have understood it to mean that my focus should be more on saving up my treasures in heaven than here on earth, as in investing in my eternity. Keeping my relationship with God in a good spot and so on. But for some reason, now I have this nagging voice that is pointing out that Jesus actually says not to save up things that MOTHS can destroy. Hmmm....I wonder if my boxes upon boxes of clothes qualify?
I also had a tiny thought that me saving these clothes shows a lack of faith on my part. Stick with me, I'm not grasping at straws here, but really, think about it with me. I am saving mountains of clothes that nobody is wearing for at least a year, so that I will be prepared when that time comes. But in reality, I am not promised tomorrow and neither are my children. And if we make it to tomorrow, have I so little faith that God will provide for our needs that I save up mountains of clothes just in case? Really, someone probably needs clothes today. And I wonder if God would have my boxes be their provision for today?
Well, since I was still unclear on what God was putting on my heart in regards to this silly little situation, I have kept the clothes. They are still neatly stacked and folded and tucked away. I resolved to pray that God would give me a (more) clear sign as to whether or not to save them. Apparently I am a VERY slow learner.
Last night I was just about to open my Bible to read before bed when I suddenly remembered my dreams from the night before. Random, huh? I hadn't really thought of them all day, but they came to mind right as I slowed down and started to seek God. The first was a dream about a friend using an incredible gift she has to further God's kingdom. In my dream I saw her face clear as day as she served the least of these, the forgotten children, the abandoned kids in our society, It was beautiful. The second dream was me. Well only my hands, and I was in a closet shuffling through clothes hanging on hangers. This closet just seemed to keep going. Let me assure you, while I am guilty of an abundance of clothes, I do not have the never ending closet. Not even close. But this closet in my dream, it just kept going. And the clothes in it were not all mine. Some were men's, some were small like children's clothes. I got to one particular item and stopped, pulling it out from the others a little bit. It was a soft pink sweater. As I looked closer at the shoulder, I noticed something on it. A moth. A moth actually eating the sweater. I flicked it off and started shuffling through the rest of the clothes. On every single item there were moths, clearly eating our clothes. They were destroyed.
Again, I am no Joseph, and maybe I'm being dramatic, but I'm pretty sure God just made it very clear to me. How can I justify saving mounds of clothes and shoes, most of which were given to us when we needed them, when there are surely children somewhere who need them now. For me to have excess when others are in need, isn't that in a way, me stealing from them? When will I realize enough? When I realize that I have enough and stop at that point, that is when I will be freed from the burden of stuff. Excess. When I take no more than what I need and share anything beyond that, that is when I am truly free and living the lifestyle Jesus lived and taught. Just enough. The early church in Acts is described as not having any needy persons among them because they did not keep anything for themselves, but shared all of their possessions with each other. How amazing would it be to be a part of a community like that? Now let's take the dream just a bit bigger and think of how incredible it would be to imagine this on a global level? Christian brothers and sisters sharing everything with one another, around the world, and reaching out and taking care of the needy, the poor and the sick? To share everything until there were no needy persons among us? Of course I realize that my seven or eight boxes of clothes and shoes isn't about to solve world poverty. But it is what I have. And that's really all God asks of us. To give what we have. It has been said that true generosity is not measured by how much we give but by how much we have left. Guilty as charged.
So those boxes are being moved out. I am praying over them, praying that God leads me to whom they belong. Because it certainly isn't me. God told me. In my dreams.