Pastor Cathy Daharsh
How much money do we need to live? How much "stuff" do we need?
These were questions I asked myself when leaving a very comfortable life in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. My husband Tom left his VP position, I resigned from my job as Director of Youth and Family Ministry and we sold our large home with ½ acre of land so that I could go to seminary. Our family of four would live in a small duplex, less than half the size of our house in Sheboygan.
I clearly remember the day we told our families that we were moving to Dubuque, Iowa for seminary. Immediately after the shock and the sadness that we were moving, Tom’s brother asked, “Can I have your riding lawn mower?”
Everyone laughed and then proceeded to ask for items that we couldn’t possibly fit in our future smaller space. It weirdly felt a bit like we had died as the family was going through our house dividing our stuff.
In our Gospel reading this Sunday, a man came to see Jesus and he had money on his mind. He said to Jesus, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me,”
Jesus replied, “Take Care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life doesn’t consist in the abundance of possessions.”
This was a lesson I needed to learn. Truth be told, it was difficult for me to leave our comfortable house with lots of stuff. But what I eventually discovered was that our family grew closer together in our small duplex. Since our home was smaller, we bumped into each other more often and shared more time together which was an unexpected blessing. We discovered that all that extra stuff we had was really only a distraction. Our boys played outside even more and connected with other kids on campus. My husband, Tom and I, got of the house more often and connected more with each other and our neighbors. We also seemed to thank God more often for our family, our neighbors, what we had and our life together.
It seems to me the more stuff I have the more I am distracted from my connection and relationship with God. Jesus taught us the foundation to building our life together, which is to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. When we put our time and effort into God and our neighbor, I believe that we see the world in new and more meaningful ways. I also believe that it opens our eyes to caring and communing with creation. May we take time to simplify our lives. May we know that no matter how much stuff we have we are loved in Christ. Amen.