I bought a house. So of course I’ve been spending a lot of time fixing it up and making it mine. I have three roommates moving in soon, and I’m trying to organize the kitchen so we can efficiently use a small amount of space — especially in the kitchen.
And sometimes that means I buy a silverware organizer at IKEA, only to realize it’s really too small and doesn’t have as many divided spots as I’d like (for some reason, it’s really important to me that my small spoons are separate from my big spoons). Then I end up at Marshalls, so I grab another organizer, only to find it’s a half-inch too wide for my drawer. Then I’m at Ross, so I buy yet another organizer, one that expands, which is perfect — for my other drawer and large kitchen utensils (serving spoons, grater, etc).
I still need to return at least one organizer to the store, and I still don’t have the one silverware organizer that I want. And now I’ve already spent far more time on this than I’d like. It makes me wonder, Why am I spending so much time on this? Why is this worth it?
Having an Eternal Perspective
You know how sometimes God makes your personal devotions line up with your Bible study and the pastor’s sermon? Well, God seems to be doing that right now with me, and this time the overarching theme is eternity.
With an eternal perspective, all the small earthly cares that I spend so much time on really don’t seem to matter. Yes, having utensils dividers that use all the space in the drawer well will help my roommates and me store things and help us live more easily together, so in a way, even that small thing has some importance — or at least that’s how I try to justify this to myself. But does using space well in a kitchen drawer on this earth compare with caring for my own soul and other people’s souls and their eternal destinies? Of course not.
I recently listened to a sermon by Titus Martin (shout-out to my pastor while I was in college) about eternity. In it, he talked about an incredibly unhelpful saying – “that Christians are too heavenly minded to be of any earthly good.” He went on to explain how completely wrong that idea is. He explained that by thinking about heaven, we won’t hold too tightly to this world. We’ll be able to recognize and prioritize the things in our earthly lives that have real, eternal importance. By having an eternal perspective, we’ll remember that this life is not meant to be comfortable. We’ll also be willing to live sacrificially, putting others’ needs and souls before our own wants.
Letting Go of Earthly Stuff
While in college, I took a Bible class that at one point talked about the issue of consumerism. The funny thing is that at the time I didn’t really see it as an issue — at least not in my own life. In reality, I then spent ample time looking through promotional emails from my favorite clothing stores, trying to get the trendy, cute clothes on a college budget. Now for the record, I don’t see all shopping or consumerism as an issue or sinful — I still like to have clothing that’s at least almost trendy and I am still a fan of bargain shopping. But I also now recognize that consumerism mostly focuses on the temporal, rather than the eternal. In college, why was I willing to spend an hour shopping for clothes online when I wouldn’t spend 15 minutes reading God’s Word?
Now I think of myself as a minimalist wannabe. Even though I’ve purged much of my clothing, I’m still not a minimalist, and I’ll probably never be one. I’m OK with that. But I do now strive to have less material stuff in my life so that I can have more time, money, headspace and energy to focus on people and God — which have eternal value.
Remembering Our Call
As Christians, our purpose in this world is to glorify God by loving Him and doing what He commands — which includes loving others and sharing the Gospel.
So what does that mean? Well, I’m certainly still trying to figure that out. For me, it might mean focusing more on people, rather than this house I’m now responsible for. Yes, I do need to be a good steward of the house, a blessing from God, but I can also use it for others. So rather than spending all my time making it just perfect, I’m trying to make it livable and welcoming — and then utilize it as a haven for others so that it can be a place of encouragement and a place of blessing for those that enter it.
Because people’s souls are far more important than organizing my silverware.