People and their ‘stuff’

John Hatcher's picture

Every so often I feel compelled to write a word about stuff. Stuff that clutters our corners, rooms, garages, rental storage space, and even our automobiles.

We gather stuff. We collect stuff. We buy stuff. We see it and must have it. People give us stuff. People think of us and buy us stuff. Remember the singing fish. Somebody saw it and just had to buy me one. I thought it was so cute that I nailed it to my office door and children were bemused by it as they walked by. But, boy, did it get old quick. Finally, one little girl was so intrigued by it that I asked, “Do you want it? Of course she did. Her parents were not so amused.

In our home, we have two large closets devoted to storing stuff. Some of it is Christmas decorations, but most of it is stuff we will probably never use another single solitary time. One day our daughter will be faced with the daunting task of figuring out which stuff to save and which to trash.

I think of my diplomas and certificates hanging on my office wall. Of what value will they be to my daughter? She could take a photo of them, put them on a CD, and then find somewhere to store the CDs which now are growing exponentially. We have them everywhere. We have CDs we don’t even know what’s on them.

Problem with most of our stuff is it’s not worth very much. As soon as we buy it off the shiny showroom floor at the department store, its value goes down dramatically (just like shiny new cars). Whatever you may think, most of us end up with a house full of junk.

The Antique Road Show television program has piqued many of our interests in the value of the chest of drawers left to us by grandmother or a blue piece of glass we picked up at a yard sale of junk. But most people who go to the antique road shows come away very disappointed that the stuff they thought was valuable is not.

Even if it were valuable once, we discover that because Aunt Mollie refinished the antique dresser, its value has plummeted. Or, an item has been chipped and, boy, does that plunge the value of a dinner plate that was used by George Washington.

By comparison we live in a modest home with not too many possessions, but I took a count and there are 25 different chairs or places one could sit in our home. Three people live here. In the old days there was a sitting room. Now we have a sitting room in every room. Want to watch TV? You can do it in almost every room in the contemporary home.

Someone said of Americans: “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.”

Jesus once said that life is not defined by what you have but what you are. Yet, here we are frantically trying to get more stuff so we can feel more secure and so the neighbors across the street can truly see who we are. Baloney.

Jesus talked about sending up treasures to heaven rather than collecting them down here. Here they collect dust; there they give glory to the one and true and only God.

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