I’m writing this blog in response to a spirit of bewilderment among my community and people who know me. I’ve been asked if I’ve lost my mind. Why? Because I’m giving away most of what I own. On the surface, that seems like lunacy. Even the thought of it makes me chuckle. Yet, with the proper backstory there may be some explanation, though, I can’t insure any more understanding.
My wife and I have been married for 15 years. For 15 years we’ve lived under the remorseful and shameful position of debt. Some of it was not our fault, most of it was. We pay our bills and survive and call that living. We have come to the conclusion that that is not living. We’re missing out on freedom. Freedom is living. We’re missing out on life experiences. Experiencing life is living. We’re missing out on the opportunity to bless others. Blessing others is living. And so, we took a huge leap of faith and decided to sell our home of about 1900 sq ft and down size into a 250 sq ft space. Even with this adjustment, we will still have running water, electricity, heat, air, fridge, stove, and satellite television! We’ll still be living better that 2/3 of the rest of the world. With this move we CANNOT take all our stuff. Stuff…that’s the point of this blog.
Our stuff has never brought us happiness. We’ve accumulated it, piled it up, shoved it in storage, tripped over it, and regretted it. Our treasure is just not in our stuff. Now, I’m not against having stuff. That’s just not where our sense of happiness is derived. So we made the decision to give it away. And this decision has caused so many to question us and even criticize us.
1. We don’t need it. What need do we have for 3 bedroom suites in a camper? Why would we hang on to things that we would only have to pay someone to store for us? THAT, to us, is lunacy.
2. Others have a need for it. Aaron is a young man. He’s a recovering heroin addict with a wife and a baby on the way. He is working hard at his recovery and finding his little family a house. The baby is due any day now. Aaron and his family had a need for our stuff. As he drove off with a pickup truck and tailer full of our stuff, he was teary eyed at the way God had generously provided for him.
3. I am raising world changers. My sons are 12 and 10. What they see in their mother and I are considered Gospel truth in their eyes. At this moment in their lives, we are making indelible marks that will shape their character and life choices forever. It’s important to us that they learn charity, love, grace, mercy and hospitality now, and to see that in us (the way that I saw it in my parents). We want them to see that we live by faith not by sight.
4. We our now investors- not spenders. Jesus warned against laying up treasure on earth where rust and moth corrupt or thieves steal, but to ‘store up for yourselves treasure in Heaven.’ We wake up every day considering how we might make eternal investments. As Emperor Titus would exclaim at the end of the day, “I have wasted today!”, if he felt he’d not blessed someone that day…we count our days, and lives a loss if we’ve ended it still full of out “stuff” and have not blessed someone else. Our treasure is on Heaven.
5. We are followers of Jesus. We read the red letters in our Bible and take Him at His Word. We follow Him, not American consumerism and aquire-ism.
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. Luke 6:38
… freely ye have received, freely give. Matthew 10:8
Where is the confusion and how can that be misinterpreted to mean only things of little value? So, it’s ok to give little, but things of value? Lots of things of value? Big things? Well, yes, all of it.
I’m not monastic. I don’t believe any holiness or righteousness is accredited to me for living modestly or giving things away.
Why not sell you stuff? (I’m asked this a lot.)
For what? To buy more stuff?
Well you’re going to have needs of your own.
My God has met every need I’ve ever had, He continues to do so daily. Why would He stop? My debt is from the moments that I failed to trust Him and got ahead of Him.
I think what people don’t understand is that THIS makes my family happy and fulfilled. Hard to believe for some, but actually we find immense joy in being able to meet needs of others, knowing that God has blessed with the ability to do so. Do we WANT to live in a camper while we slay the debt dragon? Well, no. But we’ve prayed long and hard for God to relieve our sin and debt and we don’t expect Him to send black birds with $10 bills paper clipped to their beaks (though He could) to pay off our debt…we believe we have a responsibility to the Lord in putting forth some effort. ‘If we pray for rain, we need to plow the field.’
Don’t worry, if it was up to me we’d live in a yurt, tucked away in the Cascades where we’d hunt and fish, smoke my pipe by a fire, play my banjo, and count the stars every night. What we’re doing isn’t THAT hard for homesteading hippies who love Jesus and others. 🙂
Our devotion to follow Jesus Christ and His teachings has created in us very personal convictions. These convictions lead us to do very odd things as far as Western Civilization is concerned, which sort of out of congruency with what Scripture actually teaches.
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. James 2:14-18
27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.
28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”—when you already have it with you. Proverbs 3:27
9 The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor. Proverbs 22:9
13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Romans 12:13
Perhaps I’ve lost my mind. I feel like I’ve gained my heart…and freedom.