This time last week I was driving a moving truck down 95 from DC to Durham. Yes, that means today is pretty much an upgrade no matter what happens. It also means I’ve been thinking a lot about moving recently. And thinking about moving has made me think about materialism, greed and my obsession with stuff.
It wasn’t until we started packing up the house in DC that I realized just how much stuff we had. I’d lived in the same house for over 8 years – that’s more than enough time to accumulate more than enough stuff! What really struck me wasn’t how much we had but how much of it was just totally unimportant to me. It didn’t matter if we brought it to Durham, put it in storage or gave it away.
Now I know some of you are getting ready to throw the “good for you, Captain Self-Righteous” flag. Don’t. Because that is NOT how I felt when I bought all of that stuff. I remember how much I wanted that CD, how cool I thought that shirt was, how essential those shoes were to impressing that girl, how I bought that tv even though I couldn’t afford it, etc… Less than 8 years later, that treasure had faded to junk.
King Solomon said the same thing in even more extreme language:
“I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my labor,
and this was the reward for all my toil.
Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun.”
– Ecclesiastes 2:10-11
Our culture sells us a perpetual chasing after the wind. And I fall for it a lot. I still have a list of things I want right now – stuff I really want, stuff that will make me cooler or happier or better. But the gospel frees us from needing the latest and greatest because we already have the best and ultimate in Jesus.
So, I’m trying to remember the lessons of moving – today’s treasure is tomorrow’s junk. Before you make that next purchase, ask yourself if you are even going to care about whatever it is in a year. My guess is a lot more will stay on the shelf thanks to that question.