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What to Do With Stuff and Things

We went to an auction last month. An old man died and his children were selling all his stuff. I like auctions: the people, the food and, of course, the stuff. I like to look at all the stuff. Jesus would go to an auction every now and then, don’t you think?

I didn’t know then the significance of stuff, let alone things. I knew Jesus didn’t have much stuff but assumed he had things, some things at least.  <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
 
We have plenty of things and, on top of that, lots of stuff. It is part of the American way, right there with apple pies, shopping malls and football in the fall.
 
Every time we move we have a sale to get rid of some of our stuff. Then we settle into a new house and start buying more stuff. We have eight rooms in our house now and that takes a lot of stuff.
 
We went to an auction last month. An old man died and his children were selling all his stuff. I like auctions: the people, the food and, of course, the stuff. I like to look at all the stuff. Jesus would go to an auction every now and then, don’t you think?
 
I bought a few pieces, brought them home and stacked them with the rest of my stuff, right there in the garage next to my things. They will probably be there for my children to sell when I move on to a nursing home.
 
Jesus didn’t have a house so he didn’t need much stuff. At least not like the recently indicted CEO of Tyco: The man bought a townhouse in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />New York City and, the paper reported, proceeded to stock it with stuff and things—$11 million worth of stuff and things.
 
That’s good for our economy, of course, which is geared toward stuff-production and stuff-accumulation, the lack of which constitutes a recession.
 
Some people say we are in a recession, but they are wrong. They haven’t been to the flea markets, where most Americans go to swap stuff and trade things. One near us even has music concerts and, on Sundays, gospel preaching.
 
Don’t you think Jesus would have enjoyed a flea market like that?
 
Not for the buying and selling but because these were his kind of people. They would have heard him gladly, even when he said things like, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust corrupt and where thieves break in and steal.”
 
It is a good thing he lived in another century and in another country.
 
The specialists have missed another sign of our robust economy—namely, the boom in the storage industry. 
 
There are storage facilities everywhere: at every interchange, along every highway, in the midst of every city, around every corner—row upon row of storage sheds.
 
Do you ever wonder what is in all those storage bins or who puts their things in there? Probably people who live in houses too small for all their stuff!
 
Somebody recommended that I take my retirement money out of the stock market and invest in storage facilities. I would, except that our neighborhood yard sale is this Saturday, and most of my neighbors have things I really need.
 
I admire anyone who can resist the urge to accumulate stuff and things—like Wayne Oates, longtime minister, author and professor right here in Kentucky.
 
Seems he and his wife were hosting friends and toward evening he said, “We are going to bed. Stay up as long as you like. Whatever you see in our home you are free to use. If you need something you do not see, ask. If you need something we do not have, we will teach you how to live without it.”
 
Is it possible to live without stuff and things—I mean, really live? I wonder.
 
Oh, did I tell you about the Biggest Yard Sale in the World? It runs from Ohio to Georgia, right through Kentucky along U.S. Route 127 …
 
Dwight Moody is dean of the chapel at Georgetown College in Georgetown, Ky.