How to Solve Your 'Stuff' Problem

Got Too Much Stuff? Find the Answer to Your Stuff Problem

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If you're not sure if you have a stuff problem, let me ask you a few questions.
• Does your car fit in your garage or is there too much stuff in the way?
• Do your shoes and clothes fit in one closet, or do they fill up three?
• Do you need to have two-yard sales each year?
• Do you have a hard time getting rid of something, even if you haven't used it in five years?
• Do you rent a storage unit for the things that don't fit in your house?
• Is your attic full of boxes but you don't even know what's in them?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, I suspect you have a stuff problem. In "How to Solve Your 'Stuff' Problem," Jack Zavada of discusses this phenomenon—our tendency to have too much stuff—and offers a solution.

How to Solve Your 'Stuff' Problem

It’s hard to believe it’s still around.

Many years ago when this bumper sticker first came out, it seemed pretty funny: "He who dies with the most toys wins."

It’s still being sold on the Internet, and you occasionally see one on the back of a pickup truck or sports car, but now it doesn't seem so funny. Today it seems pretty sad.

There’s no question that we men like our toys and Christian men are no different. We’re fascinated by gadgets, tools, and anything that has a gasoline engine on it. By those criteria, gas-powered leaf blowers and chain saws rank right near the top.

Women say men never grow up, that our toys just get more expensive. There’s a lot of truth in that, too. But on the other hand, have you ever met a woman who owns only one purse or one pair of shoes?

What is it About Stuff, Anyway?

What is it about stuff, anyway? Why are we so enthralled with it and why do we accumulate so much more than we need or could ever use? Why do some of us run up huge credit card debts buying more and more stuff?

Maybe we want to be cool. Maybe the latest "must-have" item will make us the envy of our friends. Maybe we enjoy being admired when we’re driving a shiny new car. It makes us feel successful. When you have better stuff than somebody else, it makes you feel important.

Jesus knew about stuff. Two thousand years ago he said, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." (Luke 12:15 NIV)

We don’t consider ourselves greedy. After all, everybody has stuff, especially in the United States. It’s part of our lifestyle. We keep it in perspective. Or at least we try to.

Jesus saw that too much stuff eats away at our life. It all requires some kind of maintenance, cleaning, dusting or storage. That takes time, valuable, nonrefundable time. He wants us to ask, "Do I own my stuff, or does my stuff own me?"

The real danger comes when we let our stuff define us. Whether it’s a bells-and-whistles cell phone or designer label clothing, the "right" stuff becomes a badge of success. We fall into the trap of believing our worth comes from our stuff, rather than from our relationship with God.

The High Price of Stuff

Stuff carries a high price, not only monetarily, but spiritually as well. It draws us away from Jesus. It lures us into chasing after things, instead of after God. It can make us greedy because we want to use our money for more stuff instead of helping missionaries or the church. It tempts us into loving things more than people.

So what’s the answer? Do we need to take a vow of poverty, like some clergy, so we’re not overwhelmed by possessions to the detriment of worshipping God? Do we, like the young man who came to Jesus, need to sell everything we own and give the money to the poor?

Maybe the answer can be found by asking yourself this question: "Why am I trying to fill this hole in my heart with stuff, instead of with God?"

When you dig deeply enough to understand that, you'll discover that you’re trying to pound stuff into a God-shaped hole. It just won’t fit. God and his bottomless love for you are the only things that can make you right because God himself created that hole.

Choosing God over material things is one of the toughest decisions you'll ever make, but it’s the only way to lasting fulfillment and peace of mind. A strange thing happens when you choose God. Material possessions lose their allure. You find unexpected happiness. You finally get that it’s a Who that you’re after instead of a what.

Christianity is a faith of contradictions. When you’re weak, then you’re strong. When you lose your life, you save it. And when you choose Christ, you choose the only hunger that can ever satisfy.