The Theology of Rummaging
Once a year at Pinnacle our Fellowship Hall receives a makeover. Not a fresh coat of paint, or a good cleaning, but instead the entire congregation is invited to empty their closets, to clean their garages, and to bring their unwanted items to the hall to be sold in order to raise money for the summer high school mission trip.
It is that time of year again, we are in over our heads in rummage that will be sold to the public this weekend. It is easy to recognize the blessing of the sale. We raise a lot of money and that money enables us to get the high school teens involved in making a difference in the world.
But the blessings just begin with the funds that are raised. In addition congregation members spend time together preparing for the sale: high school students hanging and pricing clothes along side retired members of our congregation, moms helping post items online and dads visiting the homes of members to pick up donations. And when the sale is over, everything that remains gets to bless the ministries of local charities.
I still think there is more, I think there is something theologically sound to purging our unwanted, unneeded, unused possessions. I have spent the last few days greeting people as they drop off goods and working along others as we prepare.
In all of it I am reminded of the words of Matthew 6: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust — consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink-or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life-And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
As we purge ourselves of our material possessions, a weight is lifted, the clutter is cleared. How much more when we purge ourselves of the emotional rummage that weighs us down. We each hang on to past experiences, guilt, anger, feelings of inadequacy — these feels clutter our minds, our spirits, and keep us from living fully for God.
At PPC we have made it a yearly tradition to de-clutter our closets and unload items that are weighing us down. Our faith tradition has a similar yearly tradition. Lent. It is a time for us to de-clutter our lives, to cleanse our spirits, to rid our selves of the emotional "junk" that is keeping us from being able to breathe deeply and connect with God on a meaningful level.
As you clean out your closets, be mindful of the other areas of your life that need to be de cluttered as well. What do you need to let go of? What is cluttering your mind and taking your focus from God and God's hope for your life?