“’All these I have kept,’ the young man said. ‘What do I still lack?’ Jesus answered, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’” Matthew 19:20-21
I am in a major transition right now. What else is new? Right? I feel like the last four years have been a major transition. As a result, the Lord is teaching me about my relationship with stuff. He told me my relationship isn’t right. Some of the stuff, and I’m talking about material things, have become idols in my life.
You see, I grew up one of five to a single mother. I watched my mother work hard, cry and do what she could to provide the best life for us. I saw her struggle so much that I never wanted to be single mother. I vowed never to have to struggle for money and the material things in life. I went to college, graduate school and got married all so I could have the dream I envisioned for myself and children. Well, life has not panned out the way I planned. Here I am a single mother and struggling for the things I desire for myself and for my children.
One of those things that I have always coveted is a house. I coveted owning a house because we never had a house of our own growing up. I grew up in Montgomery County, MD and went to the upper-class high school Walt Whitman for a season surrounded by wealthy families, and it always made me feel less than because we didn’t own a house. So, after my husband died and I left the home we owned together, I thought I would never own a home again, especially as a single mother. However, the Lord showed me that nothing is impossible with Him, and I purchased a home by myself in South Carolina. All should have been well right?
The lesson I learned in South Carolina is a material thing cannot make you happy. What good is a house with no one to share it with? My mom, siblings and friends were miles away. I should have been happy, but I wasn’t, and I made a major decision. I decided to leave my house. The relationships with my friends and family that I took for granted became more important to me than the house. I want to see my mom. I want to watch my nephews grow up. I want to see my brother perform. I want to be around.
This decision didn’t come without major wrestling in my spirit. I felt like I was being frivolous with the blessings of God. He performed a miracle for me after all!
That’s when the Lord had to correct my way of thinking. He brought to my remembrance the rich man who wanted to follow Jesus. He said he had kept all of the commandments since birth, however when Jesus asked him to sell all of his possessions and give them to the poor, he couldn’t do it. His relationship with his stuff was more important to him than his relationship with Jesus. Jesus showed me that He doesn’t think the same way about a house as I do. He can replace a house. It’s just a material thing. It’s a temporary shelter as I journey through this life. Jesus showed me that it’d become an idol to me, and I had let it impact my sense of worth and how I feel about myself. He told me it was OK if I let it go.
My transition is still shaky. However, I’m encouraged to know that God doesn’t think I’m being reckless with the stuff He gives me. I’m still journeying on, trusting and believing. We will see what the end will be.