Gracefully Truthful


Read His Words Before Ours!

Matthew 6:19–24
Luke 12:22–34
Joshua 7:20–26
Exodus 20:17

Achan replied to Joshua, ‘It is true. I have sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel. This is what I did: When I saw among the spoils a beautiful cloak from Babylon, five pounds of silver, and a bar of gold weighing a pound and a quarter, I coveted them and took them. You can see for yourself. They are concealed in the ground inside my tent, with the silver under the cloak.’” (Joshua 7:20–21)

“So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.” (Matthew 6:31–33)

A few years ago, sitting in a busy coffee shop during our Easter break, my husband surprised me with a question out of the blue, “What do you think about buying an RV and travelling around Australia?”.

At the time I replied, “That sounds nice,” thinking hubby was just stressed from his demanding job and dreaming of escape. As it turns out, he was stressed from his demanding job, but the escape wasn’t just a dream. A couple of months later, we had put down the deposit on an RV, and had a plan in place to leave our normal lives behind to travel full-time.

While we looked forward to an amazing season of adventure together as a couple, it meant letting go of almost everything we knew and getting rid of almost everything we owned. In the months that followed our decision to leave, I culled our 28 years of family life into just 12 cartons of precious possessions to keep in storage. Everything else went.

We condensed our lives into a 21’ RV. And we’ve never felt richer.

We didn’t recognise the idolatrous place our possessions had held in our lives until we got rid of our stuff. We had been deceived by the devil to expect happiness and security in our belongings. When they were gone, we found new freedom to love and serve God.

Our relationship with each other deepened as we left the busy schedules and the pressures of our professional lives behind. 

We had time for each other. 
We had time for God. 
We had time for unhurried conversations with strangers. 
We had time to live. 
We discovered a joy we had never known before. 
And we had fewer possessions than we have ever owned in our lives.

Humankind has always had a fraught relationship with possessions. “Do not covet” is one of the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20:17), given by God to remind His people that provision, contentment, and security are found in Him rather than the accumulation of possessions.

Achan was a warrior in the army of God’s people. As the Israelites fought under Joshua’s leadership, God gave them specific instructions about handling the spoils of their conquest. But Achan saw an opportunity to get ahead and took the treasure God had set apart for Himself. His sin cost the people dearly. God withdrew His protection from the army, and they lost their battle against Ai. (Joshua 7:4–5)

God’s people had everything they needed. (Joshua 5:10–12) God had provided food and water for them in miraculous ways. Achan and his family had everything they needed, but the idol of stuff grasped his heart. As it does ours.

Our stuff costs us so much. We have to work to pay for it, and we spend our spare time cleaning, organising, and maintaining it. Then we have to insure it and protect it. As it accumulates we need more space to store it. Eventually, we need to find a way to dispose of it. Our stuff is a socially-acceptable idol. 

Jesus said, “Don’t strive for what you should eat and what you should drink, and don’t be anxious. For the Gentile world eagerly seeks all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be provided for you [… ] Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Make money-bags for yourselves that won’t grow old, and inexhaustible treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:29–34)

A year into our travels, while we were on the opposite side of the country, a flood ravaged our hometown, and the storage shed where our last possessions were being stored went underwater. God culled what little we had left. While we grieved, we knew we had no need for the stuff in those boxes. The idol had been torn down.

Here is a challenge: 

  1.     Let’s stop shopping. Stop buying things we don’t really need.
  2.     Sell or donate the possessions that are not helping us serve God. Clear out our closets, our garages and our attics. 
  3.     Practice contentment. Be grateful for what we have and stop looking to upgrade and upsize.

Let’s tear down the idols of our stuff, laying aside every hindrance and sin that so easily ensnares us, instead running with endurance the race before us. (Hebrews 12:1) Let’s discover the joy of serving God unencumbered! 

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