Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What About the Stuff?

Last month I had the privilege of going with our youth group to Heifer Ranch and spending a night in the Global Village.  There each group stays in a house representing a different impoverished country or situation.  We got to the stay in the Refugee Camp.  What this meant is that we had no resources (food, fuel, or utensils) and were unable to communicate with those outside our group.  The idea of this experience is that there are enough resources for everyone but the only way everyone has enough is to share. 

Since I was in the group that couldn't talk, I did a lot of listening and observing.  And here's what I most noticed - having stuff gets in the way of being kind.  (This doesn't mean people weren't kind to us.  They were and we ended up well taken care of.)  It wasn't that people were unkind to us, but I was amazed at how much we argue over the things that we have.


On Sunday my children had a friend over for the day.  With three boys from age 4 - 6 you never know what might happen but the day went really well.  But there were those moments over the course of the day...

"It's mine.  You can't have it."

"I want to play now.  It's my turn!"


Today I am working on a sermon.  In Acts, Luke writes about the early Christian community, "no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything was held in common....There was not a needy person among them" (4:32b, 34a).


So, what do we do about the stuff?  I'm not ready to give it all away.  But, I can't help but wonder how much kinder I would be...how much more attentive to those who cross my path...how much more generous...if I weren't so worried about locking and protecting and taking care of and enjoying everything that I own (or that owns me). 

And what does it teach my children when stuff has so much of me...and of them?