Continue to bring non-perishable foods, toiletries, blankets, and baby care items for Hurricane Sandy victims to 217church. Sunday Services – 10 am & 11:30 am
Watching the church in action is a beautiful thing. This past week, a team from 217church and Element church had the privilege of serving someone we didn’t even know. A group of us took a trip to Union beach, NJ where the scene was disastrous. The house we were gutting had been overcome by three feet of ocean water and everything on the first floor had to be thrown away. The back yard was littered with garbage. Washers, dryers, refrigerators, furniture, insulation and countless amounts of drywall, all ended up in a pile in front of the house. At one point I had to just stop, go outside and take a deep breath because it was too much for me to handle. As I looked towards the ocean, I observed countless houses like this one, needing to be cleaned up. The task seemed so overwhelming. These are real people who lost virtually everything. But this family had EACH OTHER.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ..” Galatians 6:2
As I stood and stared at the stuff on this curb it hit me. All this stuff at one point was new. Brand spanking new. The beautiful stainless steel refrigerator, the oak desk, the big screen TV. It all at one point was brought home with pride. It got me thinking about the process we go through in our love affair with STUFF…
5 stages of stuff
1. Ambition – It all starts here with our stuff. Desire! We get a job, we like a girl, we give her a ring. We have all these plans and desires and it usually involves big money and lots of stuff. A first home, a new car and a retirement account. These are all things we want to have and think we need. It is touted as the “American Dream” and I think one of my jobs is to pry people’s hand off of this dream and show them God’s dream. But ambition is a powerful thing.
2. Acquisition – You have all heard of shopper’s high. I have had it before and you know the feeling. When you first buy something it usually feels amazing. I’ll never forget opening the door to our first house. It was brand new construction, built to our specifications and it was ours. It even had a garage, which leads to the next phase.
3. Accumulation – I recently spent a day cleaning out my garage and found stuff I had forgotten about and stuff I don’t even remember how we obtained it. Accumulation is a dirty word because we can look around and think that we have something. We might even start to think we are a really big deal. But if we don’t have Jesus we don’t have anything. There is a false sense of security in owning a home, having power- even having a car. As most of us experienced in the Northeast this week: If the power goes out, our house becomes a very cold place. Empty. On top of that, if we don’t have power, our gadgets don’t even work. Listen, people matter more than stuff! You are taking none of it with you when you die.
4. Admiration – We look around and pat ourselves on the back and feel proud of our accomplishment. We even admire certain people in their pursuit of accumulation. Some of us become bitter and jealous because “all those rich people out there are greedy.” For a little while after we have accumulated much, we actually think we need more. We want to be like them. There is a venom injected in the life of our culture that whispers, “we need more” and most of us believe it. This, by the way is why we don’t give more, we actually think we need more.
5. Apathy – Eventually, and this could take a lifetime, we get apathetic about our stuff. Most of us after getting to the end of our life will not say, “I wish I would have had more stuff.” We will most likely think, “I wish I would have given more away, and I wish I wouldn’t have worried about it so much!” We will wish we would have spent more time with those we love.
During this time when we see so much need, let’s become apathetic NOW about our stuff. If someone has a need, let’s not hesitate to give to help. Let’s help people rebuild and be the hands and feet of Jesus. Your stuff doesn’t matter and does not define you. Let’s take care of one another.
Can’t wait to be the church this weekend!
P.S. If you know of anyone who has a specific need from Hurricane Sandy, please contact Tim 732-306-9074.