Posted by: Caleb Butler | October 2, 2009

The Storage Closet and All Its Baggage

I want you to try this with me because I’ve personally been wrestling with it the past few weeks. Imagine packing all you own into two suitcases. Well, almost all you own.

Honestly, I think most of you take more than two suitcases full of stuff for a two-week vacation. I’m guilty too. So, truly, if I had to pack everything up and leave but was given the stipulations of two bags and one extra “carry on,” it would be hard. Real hard. I would sacrifice a lot of cool stuff. My childhood belongings that bring back so many memories? Gone. My “library” of books? Left behind. My basketballs? Deflated. And, along with it, my heart.

Man, I’ve never even sat down and contemplated this … I’d struggle without sports. It would be hard without some good books.

Can you see how working in the storage closet can be burdensome? I see person after person walk in to a room full of bags. One or two of which contain, quite possibly, every item of clothing they own. I wonder how much they owned before. That is, before they were homeless. I have yet to meet someone who was born into homelessness. (Oh, they may be out there.) But at one point, each individual here knew what it was like to live in a home. Then something happened. Drugs, divorce, alcohol, breakup, laziness, injury, mental illness, and the list goes on. In a matter of days, maybe hours, they are faced with what I asked you to imagine in your own life — losing a lot of stuff and living out of two suitcases. Oh by the way, you can only access this suitcase in the morning hours, usually from 7am-12pm.

Think of the childhood keepsakes they forsook. The family photo albums. The rare Star Wars collection. I’m sure that was tough, and the current circumstances are no fun. It’s embarrassing. It’s a hassle. You don’t even have a key to the room where all of your belongings are.

However … I don’t want to dwell on losing things. It’s not the point. In fact, there is something beautiful that comes from pain. A great paradox.

When Job was hit with trial after trial, he praises God. Only when Job was in the pits of life was he able to realize the depths of his inadequacy in light of God’s greatness (ch. 38-41) … I am beginning to see how God works. Out of the brokenness comes reconciliation. That is, a right relationship with the one true God.

So when I say that the Bible is real to these folks, I mean it. The Bible comes alive on the streets because it’s all you got. When you read Matthew 6:19-21, you completely understand. When you have been stripped of all your material possessions and monetary security, a golden opportunity arises for God to reveal Himself to you as Your sole Provider. Some see it, others don’t. But for those who do, oh the blessing!

Today I challenge you to test your own heart. Where is your treasure? Do you only sing words of praise to God or do you live a life that screams faith in God? Meditate on the following passage. Let it convict. Let it transform. I pray that we begin to take hold of the life that is truly life.

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

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