We’re beginning to think about moving our stuff into our next home, and I own so many coffee mugs, we’re using the dishwasher to store the extras. Like it or not, some of my coffee mugs will have to go.
Next on the agenda: books.
Our next home won’t come with a church office, so I’m beginning to think about which books are clutter and which books are keepers. The Bibles are keepers, and so are most the books kept close at hand. A lot of commentaries will make the cut, but I’m not sure about the hymnals. My concordance can go. There’s a website for that now. Books read long ago, books hardly opened, or out of date probably won’t make the trip to the next place, or maybe they will. A book might lead me to thank God for its giver, another might evoke good memories of a time or place, or maybe there’s that hunch that I might just need that book someday.
Sometimes, downsizing starts easy, and stays easy.
Other times, not so much.
You know the story.
His brothers sell Joseph out of the family, and Joseph ends up saving his family from a famine. Ruth refuses to let Naomi go, and she ends up as King David’s great grandmother. King Saul throws David out of the palace, and David spares Saul’s life to honor their God. Jerusalem conspires with Rome to crucify Jesus, and God raises Christ from the dead.
God works that way.
In the gospel of John, Jesus is about walk his disciples from the washing their feet to a garden where Judas will hand Jesus over to be crucified. As he prepares to leave, Jesus leads his disciples into a vineyard.
Jesus says: I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. (John 15:5-6)
Ouch. Who wants that?
Jesus didn’t come to downsize and condemn us. Christ came to keep us in love with God, and fill us with His Spirit, so as impatience becomes patience, we create concord instead of rage; and as pique forgoes clique, we build tables instead of walls; and as anger turns to peace, we choose love over fear; and as greed gives way to generosity, we find joy in living to give.
In my heart, that’s a life worth keeping.