If you are like me and you have/had older parents than you can appreciate the phrase that "we have to clean house". My mother died in March of 2011, which was a year after they went to assisted living as the doctors believed that they were too old to take care of themselves in their own home. This was a hard transition for my parents and my siblings as they were not to keen on change. It was particularly harder for my sister and I who literally took over the financial (me) and medical (my sister) while the other two siblings opted out.
In this transition we finally had to come to terms on cleaning out the house. After renting the house, putting things in storage and finally selling the house, then we had to clean out the house. It truly epitomizes the term, "IT all goes back in the box". In talking with friends and other distant family members, we all find ourselves in the point in our lives, be it family members, parents, relatives and or friends and church community where we have to clean out the house and help them clean out.
Society constantly bombards us with the solicitations on television, radio and social media that we have to have more. They say that we deserve more and believe that we are all entitled to more. It doesn't matter if we make $12,000 or $50,000 or six or even seven digit incomes - society and its marketeers tells us - buy it, spend it, enjoy it - we deserve a break today.
As Christians, we know that if we truly were honest with the phrase - we deserve a break today, that would not be possible without the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Because of God's love for us - sending His Son to die for us and to pay the cost for our sins - we will be saved. Not only must we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, we have to transform through the repentance of our heart.
Romans 12:1-2 (ESV) A Living Sacrifice 12 I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.[b] 2 Do not be conformed to this world,[c] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.[d].
Colossians 3 (ESV) Put On the New Self 3 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your[a] life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:[b] sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming.[c] 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self[d] with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave,[e] free; but Christ is all, and in all.
12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
As we grow in our walks and truly understand the call to stewardship in our lives, we will realize a few important facts
- We only have a short amount of time on this earth (our days are numbered)
- We have been given gifts by the Spirit to honor God with (our talents are not our on)
- We have to be responsible for our time
- We have to be responsible for our talent
- We have to be accountable for our treasure (that has been given to us by God)
- What we put in is what we get out (meaning Garbage in = Garbage out versus Treasure in = treasure out (the word of God))
If you have ever been like me in the situation that I was in with my parents house (and even my house) then you start to realize the thing about most Americas that is extremely relevant to our every day lives, especially as Christians - we have all been given too much stuff. I do not care whether your are rich or poor or somewhere in between - the US is truly blessed by its resources. The lesson that I learned through this chapter in my life is that it is not fair to push my stuff onto the next generation (our kids and their kids). It is not right to burden them with too much stuff (this is a whole other post) and that in the end, when we meet God at the Judgement Seat of Christ - he is not going to ask us, as Christians, what stuff did we acquire and how much did we do in our name (instead of His). Instead, those that know and show fruit of being sons and daughters of God will be asked what we have done in His name and how did we use our gifts (time, talent and treasure) to honor Him.
I have shared with my wife a few things during this process that I want to leave a legacy with my kids:
- Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, body, soul and strength
- Love our neighbor (our sisters and brothers) as ourselves
- To not idolize stuff (do not get caught up in material things) rather, put the emphasis on heavenly things
- Pack less, store less, simplify our lives
- Do not depend too much on material things (wealth, technology, and so on) because it all goes back into the box
- Love without condition
- Give without expectation
- Make yourself available to those around you (and in need)
- Do not withhold when it is in your power to give
- In all things, learn from Proverbs 3:5-7 (ESV) 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. 7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
Some of us need to be real and take this lesson on cleaning our parents house out and turn that to a spiritual cleaning in our lives:
- Is our phone (smart) causing us to sin - throw it out
- Is our computer taking us away from God's call to purity
- Are we in the word every day
- Do we pray often?
- Are we in community with our brothers and sisters?
- Are we being accountable to community and to Scripture?
- Do we have unrepentant sin in our lives?
If you don't believe what Lance and I write in this blog, then we challenge you to examine our words (and the words of others) and test them in Scripture. Pray to the Lord and see if He reveals His way to you.
Draw near to God and He will Draw nearer to us - the Bible tells us so!