What Are We Doing With Our Excess?

Do you and I have boxes of stuff we haven’t looked at in years?  Do we have closets full of clothes that don’t fit us anymore?

Are we just letting all this ‘stuff’ sit there and accumulate?

God tells us what he wants us to do with our excess in Deuteronomy 24: 19 &20. “When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it.  Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.  When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time.  Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow.”

This was unheard of at that time.  The farmers went over all their fields twice so they could keep the entire harvest for themselves.  Every.little.bit.of.it.

God wanted to make it clear to everyone that the Israelites were different – they were his.  One of the ways he did this was by creating laws to protect the weak, the poor and strangers.  Nobody else had laws like this.

The majority of us don’t have crops…..but we have a lot of ‘stuff’.

What are we doing with our excess stuff?

What does God tell us he would like us to do with it?  Are there poor people or strangers or widows who could benefit if we cleaned out our garages, sheds and closets?

I’ve never had the urge to keep a lot of stuff.   I’m on the minimalist end of the spectrum – always parked 2 cars in a 2 car garage, don’t like clutter.  Most of my adult life I have taken the time each year to go through each box and every closet in my house to purge things I haven’t used.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t have any extra ‘stuff’.  I have moved several times in the last 10 years so I am very aware of how much stuff I actually have.

I moved out of state a year ago and I decided to be extremely critical of what I packed because this was the first time in my life I was putting anything into storage and it would have to stay there until we got a place to live.  So I not only gave away things I hadn’t used in the last year, I also gave away things I had only used once or twice in the last year.  Sure – I might be able to use whatever it is ‘someday’ but could I find it when I wanted to use it?  And, most of the time, I still have something that works fine as a substitute.

It’s a year later and I don’t miss any of it.  It makes me smile to know that someone else is using all that stuff rather than having it packed into my house, taking up space and gathering dust.

It was all excess.

Please help us be generous with our excess, Abba Father.

Blessed When Others Give

Ruth, a Moabite woman, decided to go back to her mother-in-law’s homeland with her after both of their husbands died.  We read in Ruth 2 that, when they got back to Bethlehem, Ruth went to the field of her clansmen to pick the leftover grain.march 22 2015 blessed by other's extras

This reminded me of the section we read in Deuteronomy a couple of weeks ago where God commanded the Israelites to leave the excess grain in the field after harvesting – they were not to go back over the field.  This excess was for the poor, the strangers and the widows in their community.

Now we see Ruth and Naomi benefitting from this command.

How interesting!

Especially considering that Ruth would become the great-grandmother of King David and this puts her in the lineage of Jesus.  She was an important person in our family of faith.

And God provided for her through other people giving away their excess.

We know God still does this today.  When we give ‘stuff’ away, others benefit.  God provides for others using the stuff that we clean out of our closets or our sheds or our garages.

That reminds me – there are a couple of tubs of ‘stuff’ in my shed I really need to go through.  I haven’t thought of those tubs since we moved in 4 years ago.  There might be some good things I can pass along as a blessing to someone else.  We obviously don’t use it  🙂

Please open our eyes, Abba Father.

What’s Happening with Our Excess?

God wanted to make it clear to everyone that the Israelites were different – they were his.  One of the ways he did this was by creating laws to protect the weak, the poor and strangers – this was unusual for this time.  And one of those laws told the Israelites what God wanted them to do with their excess crops in the field.

In Deuteronomy, God tells the Israelites to harvest their fields but not go back for anything that was missed, leaving the excess for the poor, widows and strangers.  He told them that, if they were obedient, he would bless all the work of their hands.march 5 2015 become ;unstuffed'

The majority of us don’t have crops……but we have a lot of ‘stuff’.

What do we do with our excess stuff?  Do we put it in boxes and stack the boxes in our garage?  Do we pile our closets full of excess stuff that we think we might need to use some day…..if we can find it?

What does God tell us he would like us to do with it?

Are there poor people or strangers or widows who could benefit if we cleaned out our garages and closets?

I was very convicted by this.  I’ve never been big on keeping a lot of stuff – I’ve always been able to park 2 cars in a 2 car garage.  But my closets and cupboards have gotten to the ‘stuffed’ stage.  So I’ve been giving a lot of ‘stuff’  away with the goal of getting my closets and cupboards at least half empty.

It’s all excess.  Sure – I might be able to use it someday.  But could I find it when I wanted to use it?  And, most of the time, I still have something that works fine as a substitute.

Someone else can benefit from this stuff rather than having it packed into my house, gathering dust.

I’m almost to my goal and one of the awesome side benefits is that I can actually find things when I need them now 🙂

Please open our eyes and our hearts, Abba Father.