Advice for Someone with Too Much Stuff

messy room
Photo credit: <a href="">Nate Bolt</a>

Matthew 10:17-22

As Jesus was leaving on another trip a man ran up and knelt in front of him. “Good teacher, what is required of me to do to achieve immortality?”

Jesus said, “Why do you think I’m that good? Only God is immortal. You know the commandments. Don’t murder. Don’t screw around on your wife. Don’t steal. Don’t lie. Don’t defraud anyone. Respect your parents.”

The man said, “Yes, teacher, but I’ve already done all that all my life.”

Looking at him with love, Jesus said, “You’re only missing one thing. Go and sell your stuff and give the money to the poor. Then you’ll be rich in heaven. The man was shocked, and he went away disappointed because he had a lot of stuff.

Jesus was a minimalist. His advice: get rid of as much stuff as you can.

For those of us who are used to having a lot of stuff it’s really hard. We’re too used to having all the stuff. It’s hard to imagine what life would be like without it.

The problem with so much stuff is that we spend so much time taking care of it, and we run out of time to take care of people. And, lets face it. Most of the time the stuff takes priority over the people.

But Jesus’ answer to this man with a lot of stuff implies that one only becomes fully human (and if you will, fully divine) by making people the top priority. What to do. Perhaps we, like the man with all the stuff, are too shocked to do it. Perhaps we go away disappointed thinking this Jesus requires too much for us.

The good news is there is help. If you really want to get rid of the stuff and start putting people first, there are lots of people who are doing it, and who are offering their experience to mark the way, and their encouragement.

Two of the best guides on the web are Leo Babauta and Francine Jay. Start there. If you’re serious about following Jesus’ advice to the guy with too much stuff.