Trading Too Many Possessions for His Glory

Lisa Brenninkmeyer
Too many possesions can weigh you down becuase that is not where security is found. Security is only found in Jesus.
Too many possesions can weigh you down becuase that is not where security is found. Security is only found in Jesus.

This month, I wanted to share with you a second excerpt from the Beholding His Glory talk that I gave at the WWP Leadership Conference in August. This is the second part of a two part reflection, so if you missed Part I, feel free to check it out on our website here: https://www.walkingwithpurpose.com/august-2013-reflection/

In Part I, I discussed what “Less of me and more of God” means in my personal life. The following excerpt describes a third area where God is working in me. “Less of me and more of God” has meant less self-sufficiency, less approval seeking, and…

Less accumulation and consumption.

Excess. My life is saturated with excess. I sometimes wonder how long my family could live on the food in our pantry. The supply never seems to go down. There’s always a stockpile, yet we still manage to say that we’re hungry and we can’t find anything to eat. Dinner is served and too much of it ends up in the garbage. My closet is full of clothes but there are times that I can’t find anything to wear, at least not the right thing to wear, and to me, the two seem like the same thing. We can barely move around in our storage room in the basement because it’s loaded with things that I might need at some point, and I’d better keep, just in case.

I read Jesus’ words in the gospel, telling the rich young ruler to go and sell everything he has and give it to the poor, and make myself feel better by saying that he didn’t say that to everyone, so he must not mean me. “Please,” I whisper, “May that not mean me.”

Why do I pad my life with too many possessions? Why do I panic at the thought of letting the excess go?

Where is my security found? A convicting thought – one that has been niggling at my heart for some time.

And ladies, most of us are in this boat. Most of us are wealthy by the world’s standards. Do you make $35,000 a year? Then you are in the top 4 percent of wealth in the world. $50,000? Top 1 percent.

In the words of Jen Hatmaker,

Excess has impaired perspective in America; we are the richest people on earth, praying to get richer. We’re tangled in unmanageable debt while feeding the machine, because we feel entitled to more. What does it communicate when half the global population lives on less than $2 a day, and we can’t manage a fulfilling life on twenty-five thousand times that amount? Fifty thousand time that amount? It says we have too much, and it is ruining us.

God got a hold of her heart, and her husband’s heart, and led them to a radical change. They are following the command in Scripture to “love your neighbor as yourself,” and give away half of what they make. They decided to adopt two children from Ethiopia. Jen wrote a book called 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, based on a seven month experiment where she fasted from one thing each month. During the month when she focused on food, she made a commitment to only eat seven foods and fast from the rest. One particular night, she had made dinner for herself, and then fried up some fish for her kids. These were her three biological children, because she was still waiting for the adoptions to go through. Two of her children were in Ethiopia that night. She went upstairs to do laundry while they ate. When she came back down, they were done with dinner and watching television.

She asked, “Did you finish eating already?”
“Yes.”
“Did you eat everything?”
Long pause.
“Pretty much.”
She went to the trashcan and saw five of the six fish fillets uneaten, even unbitten. When the kids saw her face, they mumbled, “We didn’t have any ketchup.”
She wrote,

And tonight, my kids here with me in the land of plenty threw away a pound of food because they didn’t have ketchup…I wept for all my children tonight, my Ethiopian children orphaned by disease or hunger or poverty who will go to bed with no mother tonight and my biological children who will battle American complacency and overindulgence for the rest of their lives. I don’t know who I feel worse for.

God has convicted my heart about this. And honestly, I don’t know exactly what to do about it. I don’t know what the solution is. But step one for me is calling it what it is and asking for God’s forgiveness. Step two is going on right now. I’m daily praying with Leo that God will show us what needs to change so that we are seeking His glory with too many possessions instead of our glory and security.

He hasn’t yet given us the answer, but I know that He will. And I also know that although letting go is hard, what God places in our hands in exchange is always better.

But even if I knew specifically what God is calling my family to, I don’t know that I would share it here. Not because I don’t trust you. It’s more because I think we love formulas, and it would be just too tempting for everyone to assume that what God is asking of me is what He’s asking of you. And that’s not how it works. God speaks to each one of us, personally. The path to holiness isn’t created with a cookie cutter. Each one of us is unique, and God has a special plan and a purpose for each one of His children.

But one thing I do know, He wants all of us to behold His glory, to know the fullness of Who He is. He wants every one of us to want Him more than we want anything else.
Matthew 6:21 says,
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
And I want my heart to belong to Him.

Blessings,
Lisa

Part 2 of a 2 part series

[1] Jen Hatmaker, 7 (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group 202), 21.
[2] Ibid, 22.