Clutter: Simplifying Our Lives
It is easy to let clutter build up in our homes. It is just as easy to clutter our minds with worry, our hearts with regrets, our time with busyness, and our relationships with grudges. So what do we do with all that clutter? We clean it up, of course, and the good news is that we don't have to clean it all up alone. God is right by our side, encouraging us to make our lives the best we can. I hope you will join us this summer in worship as we explore how Jesus frees us and helps us to simplify our cluttered lives!
Blessings on the journey, Jim
Sunday's Sermon Snippet
Clutter: Stuff (Luke 12:13-21)
Stuff clutters our lives - it is only natural. We bring things into our homes that we need or want, and not as much goes out. Eventually our stuff becomes clutter. There is the daily clutter of things that we have used that need to be put back into place. Then there is the lasting clutter of things that didn't make it back up or perhaps never had a place in our homes when we first got them. This lasting clutter has a negative impact on our lives and our ability to enjoy what we have. Clutter keeps us from finding what we are looking for and gets in the way of our daily living. Dealing with clutter is a part of life, because having and keeping stuff is a part of being human.
Jesus told a story about a rich man whose land produced a bumper crop. Seeing that his barns could not hold it all, he decided to build bigger barns so that he hold on to all this stuff and not have to worry about having enough. God told the man that his life was about to be demanded of him and asked to whom all his stuff would belong then. He was a fool for trying to hold on to so much stuff. It is important to note that this was not a punishment for his holding on to his crops. The story is meant to point out that our desire to possess as much as we can is foolish given that at the end of our lives we cannot hold on to it.
Perhaps we think we are different from the rich fool, for we do not see ourselves as rich nor do we have the fortune of such a bumper crop that would require a bigger barn. We are more akin to him than we might like, though. The impulse is the same. We see it among those of us who hoard things in our homes until little room is left to actually live. This is perhaps an extreme example as well. We also see it in those who spend thousands of dollars to store things they never pull out and use. This is getting a little closer to home. We also see it when we fill our garages and sheds to overflowing with many storage tubs purchased just to keep our stuff dry and clean until the next we may (or may not) need them.
The problem for the rich fool and often for us is thinking that we own our stuff. If we own it, what is the problem with building bigger barns or buying more storage tubs? Yet we are not owners of our stuff but stewards. Stewards are folks who hold on to things that belong to someone else until the owner gives them to someone else. God owns all of our stuff, and we are merely blessed with using it for a time. When we view our stuff in this manner, we no longer try to hold on to everything. The rich fool, acting as a steward, might have given away the surplus, left it in the fields for his neighbors to glean, sold it for a profit, or even built bigger barns so that his community would be safe from a future famine. The difference is in seeing that it is not his to begin with.
So what do we do with our clutter? There is a popular method of cleaning up clutter that invites us to determine whether an item brings us joy. If so, keep it; if not, get rid of it. The question of joy is what an owner asks. A steward asks other questions: Does this stuff bring me life? (Consider a sentimental item or necessities for living like kitchen utensils.) Does having it make my life better/easier? (Take paperwork, for instance. There is very little joy in it, but keeping it for a while makes life easier come tax day.) Does my having it help my neighbors? (We have friends, for example, who work hard to maintain a beach house partly so they can bless families they know with a vacation.) Could it do more good somewhere else? (I once gave away a banjo that I had little time to learn to play to a guitar student who would make much better music on it than I ever could.)
Challenge: Choose one room of your home that is cluttered (or a part of it such as a shelf). Sort through the clutter, and try to discern what you need to keep, what you need to use to help others, and what you need to pass on to others.
Summer Bible Reading Plan
Day 22 - 1 Samuel 17 - Giant-Killer
Day 23 - Psalm 19 - Outdoor Lessons
Day 24 - 1 Samuel 20 - Jonathan’s Loyalty
Day 25 - 1 Chronicles 17 - God’s House
Day 26 - Psalm 103 - The Goodness of God
Day 27 - Psalm 139 - David’s Spiritual Secret
Day 28 - 1 Kings 3 - Raw Talent
This week's readings focus on how David became king of Israel and some of the songs of praise that he wrote.
Living in Community
Thanks to everyone who made last week's Vacation Bible School possible! Whether you volunteered, prayed, gave, or participated, we couldn't have done it without you!
Thanks to all the generous hearts who helped us exceed our $1,500 goal for our VBS Mission Project! We raised over $2,500 in support of the community project to bring a truck of load of potatoes to help hunger ministries in our community!
This Week at Port Church
Wednesday, July 4
Office closed for the holiday
Thursday, July 5
9:00 - 11:45 am - Office Hours
Sunday, July 8
9:30 am - Worship with Communion: "Clutter - Worry"
11:00 am - Sunday School
11:30 am - Seniors Lunch and Bingo
Praise Dance Worship Service - July 15
Welcome Reception for New District Superintendent - July 15, 2-5 pm, Dayton UMC
Back-to-School Bingo - August 12
Potato Drop to benefit local hunger ministries - September 15
225th Anniversary Celebration - September 29
News and Updates
Find out what is going on at Port Republic UMC this week and in weeks to come!
8525 Water Street
PO Box 116
Port Republic, VA 24471