I sit staring at the shelves of books in my office or in the office. They represent the various stages in my life and in my ministry. There are a lot of shelves in this office. As I make a visual count of the shelves, one, two,..three, four, five, six boxes and that is just two shelves. I will need over a dozen boxes to pack all these books. The time has come that I must leave this place and I will not be able to put off the inevitable packing and moving. At least I will not have to pack and move our residence again. I am not looking to have to do that again for a long, long long, long time.
Like all these books you tend to compile a stack of things after a few decades of living. It isn’t that I buy a lot of things. It’s that the gifts start to add up. Then you figure people gave a gift not a plant or a gift card, gift cards to places you are going to actually can be a good gift, but you got a gift because they want you to remember them. So you hold on to the gifts not wanting to dishonor the person or spirit in which they were given. You graduate and you get gifts. You have a birthday and you get gifts. You get an advanced degree and you get gifts. You have another birthday and you get gifts. You speak for a group and you get gifts. You minister with the children and you get gifts. You minister with the youth and you get gifts. You have another birthday and you get gifts. It is not that you don’t appreciate the gifts and the spirit in which they were given, but its time to move and you have to pack to later unpack the gifts plus all these books.
As we have grown older Pastor Sandi and I are becoming more minimalist. We are trying to see what we can get rid of. We seldom buy keepsakes when we travel. The curio cabinet is already full such that from year to year we shift things out to put other things in. Why would we want to add more things? We have already sent the children all there things. Mom and Dad’s home is not the storage place for your children’s keepsakes. Why do we hold on to so much anyway?
I am reminded that the Israelites were first wanderers. God told them to live in tents. You can’t accumulate a lot of just things when you live in a tent. God wanted the people of faith to be attached only to God. Some of those Israelites during the wilderness wandering lost their lives because they were holding on to little things. They had attached more value to the little things than to their relationship with God. The little things had become idols. Idols get in the way of your relationship with God.
In the beginning they even worshiped in a huge tent, the tabernacle. It was portable. They could pick it up and go as God Holy Spirit would lead them. God did not ask them to build a temple they wanted a temple. God had instructed them to be a people free of the things that tend to tie us down. God had instructed them to be a people who were free to move when God said move.
As I prepare to move I am reminded we Methodist are a people who itinerate. We serve where sent until we are told to move to serve another place. It is a model that calls us as well as those we serve to remember it is all about God. No place, no people, no person is to come before God. We trust that God who began a good work in us will complete it. We look to God to be the author and finisher of our faith, so we go in peace and leave the peace of God with you.
Its moving time and I have to start packing.