Stuff • Alpine Chapel

I walked up the driveway and double-checked the address. It was my first time and I wasn’t quite sure how things were supposed to go. I made my way onto the red brick porch and slowly opened the front door.

A guy about my age greeted me in the crowded foyer and handed me a pair of small plastic bags. “Please slip these on over your shoes.”

Donning my new footwear, I made my way into the house. Everything had a price tag: the fine china, the sofa, and even the kitchen table. Every coffee mug, knick-knack, and throw pillow was up for grabs.

It was my first estate sale.

I wandered from room to room and wondered about the stranger whose home I had found myself in.  What were they like? How long did they dream about living here? How many years did they spend filling it with all the stuff that was now walking out the front door? Did they ever feel happy? And did they ever know Jesus?

Returning to the foyer, I slipped the plastic bags off my shoes. They only thing I left the sale with that day was a sinking feeling in my stomach. It wasn’t that there was anything wrong with that stranger’s house or all the stuff that they had filled it with. I just hoped that the stuff wasn’t all there was.

I hoped that there was more.

I hoped that there was laughter at that kitchen table and good conversations over those coffee cups. I hoped that folks who were in need were welcomed into each spare bedroom. I hoped that every knick-knack had a story behind it and that every throw pillow had been used in a pillow fight (yes, even the embroidered ones).

I hoped that whoever lived in that house had known what it was like to be loved and blessed by Jesus so that they could love and bless others. Because without Jesus, that house full of stuff must have been awfully empty.

Don’t get me wrong: having stuff isn’t bad. We are called to simplicity, not asceticism. It’s just that we have been invited to be a part of so much more: to be blessed in order to be a blessing to others (2 Cor. 9:11). Where have you seen this at work in your own life? Are you using what you have been given to bless others? Or is it all just “stuff”?