Boxes of stuff.
Rooms of stuff.
Garages, sheds and basements full of stuff.
Stuff we’re not using but someone else would use it – if they had it. Stuff that hasn’t fit us for many years but we still can’t give it away. Stuff that’s broken and we’ve never found the time to fix it but we still keep it because we can’t part with our stuff.
God never meant for us to keep all of our stuff for ourselves.
God told the Israelites that their 50th year in the Promised Land was supposed to be a Year of Jubilee. “Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan.” Leviticus 25:10. During this year, all of the poor people who had sold themselves as slaves were supposed to be freed and all property which had been sold was given back to the original owner. It was intended to be a year filled with redemption and freedom.
Does it surprise you that my research shows that there is no evidence that the Year of Jubilee was ever observed as God intended?
I’m not surprised. Many of us like to hold our belongings and our stuff very close. A lot of us don’t want to give stuff away – if it has to go, we sell it. We worked hard for these things. We earned them. Some of this stuff might be ‘worth something someday’.
Well, a lot of our stuff could be worth something to someone else who has less than us today if we could just loosen our grip on it and give it away. Some of our stuff is broken and worthless and shouldn’t even be given away. The bottom line – we need to be able to let go of it.
The Israelites couldn’t do it, either, so they lost the chance to see God work in a supernatural way in their lives through celebrating the Year of Jubilee. They didn’t experience the joy and freedom of having open hands when it came to their ‘stuff’.
God wanted the Year of Jubilee to be a holy year for the Israelites where they would see his provision for them as they gave the property back to the original owners and set the slaves free.
But there’s no evidence that it ever happened like it was supposed to.
I have been a semi-minimalist all of my life. I don’t like clutter and I have developed a goal of trying to give away as much stuff as I buy so that things don’t accumulate. But I’ll never forget being personally challenged by my ‘stuff’ many years ago when my husband and I decided to sell the house we lived in for over 14 years and go into Apartment Life ministry. This meant we were moving to an apartment from the 4 bedroom, two-story house with a pool where our two children grew up. We knew God was calling us into this ministry so it had to happen.
I remember walking through my big house packed with awesome memories and full of stuff crying with my hands open, asking God to help me hold all these things loosely. We sold and gave away whole rooms full of ‘stuff’ and moved into the apartment where the small amount of things we had left fit very nicely. What a great lesson about how much I had that I didn’t need! Since then, my hands hold onto people and God tightly but I hold onto ‘things’ very loosely,
It’s a great way to live. It’s awesome to see God obviously working in my life as I have more time and energy to spend loving him because my ‘stuff’ takes up less space in my life.
If your stuff owns you to any degree, take the challenge – start holding on to God tightly and holding on to your ‘stuff’ loosely today.
Please help us have ‘open hands’ for everything that is not about loving you and loving others, Abba Father.