For many people, parting with possessions is a difficult matter. I was chatting with someone today about an elderly lady who is moving into a care facility soon. After living alone for a long time and having accumulated many items that have become precious to her over the years, she faces a huge dilemma as to what to take with her and what to leave. For her (and the same will be true for many or even most of us), sorting and selecting is a mammoth task.
Just think for a moment of your precious items. They carry memories … each one has a history as to when you obtained it. Maybe you purchased it whilst on holiday; maybe you spouse gave it to you on a special occasion; maybe you purchased it with your first salary … memories. Then there could be other items you feel you might need … like a bookcase for your books or that Yuzi armchair recliner. For this elderly lady, apart from all the ‘things’ she would love to take with her, there is her standby mobility scooter just in case the one she uses packs up. The hardest thing of all is that she needs to share a room with someone else. So, where, oh where will she pack/store everything?
Her problem is our problem … or perhaps, her problem will be our problem soon. Now, we need to remember that having possessions is not a sin. Sin is when we hold onto possessions in a manner where we treat them as little gods/idols. Neither is struggling to give things up a sin. Sentimental value is important, as are the memories associated with each possession. Yet the truth is that all of us will need to go through the sorting out process. Each of us will have to travel down the emotional road of separating ourselves from some items that have real meaning … perhaps having meaning over a lengthy period of time.
Maybe the following are a few pointers that could help us in decision making when the time arrives.
First, grasp that you can’t take anything out of this world with you as you enter the next world.
1Ti 6:7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
This is the most sober thought you can have. Irrespective of what possessions, finances or assets you have, there is no room in the coffin … and in any case, it’s going to rot or burn! This is the first step to getting a right perspective on possessions with eternity in mind.
Second, start talking to your children or family or close friends about your assets. They will help you start thinking “lighter” to help you into getting “lighter” … as in discarding possessions whilst you are still able to do it without the emotions kicking in.
Third, whist you are still able and rational, start making a list of your possessions and decide whom you might want to leave the various items too. There are people who would appreciate and value your items the way you do. You might consider blessing them with it.
Fourth, you might consider selling items/possessions if necessary and using the income to purchase something that could be helpful to you in the frail care center or at the retirement facility. You might lose something valuable to yourself, but you could well purchase something that will be very useful once you relocate to a place of care.
The above pointers might help you to prevent going through the trauma of making hard decisions when you are older, emotional and hanging onto memories. As someone pointed out: “Life on earth is a dress rehearsal for eternity.” You don’t want to dress rehearse for hell … you want to do it for heaven. Just think of what heaven will be like! I don’t think you will have the physical home in heaven as you have here on earth. Heaven is a spirit world, so let’s start readying ourselves for that world. Just listen to one of the greatest verses to prove spiritual wealth and assets within God’s Kingdom:
Eph 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
(For a better context, read from verse 3 to 14.) This Scripture teaches us that we already have “every spiritual blessing in Christ.” If you want to do dress rehearsal, do it with verse 3-14. It will boggle your mind and excite your soul … and cause you to travel as light as possible on this earth.
Dear God, thank You for all the possessions and assets You have permitted me to acquire throughout my lifetime. Graciously help me not to make idols or little gods out of these things. When the time is right, help me to loosen myself from earthly possessions and to focus more fully and more clearly on the possessions of heaven that you have already blessed me with. In the meantime, help me to use what I have for Your glory through Christ my Lord. Amen.