boatyardI stood there in front of our storage unit with my hands on my hips and said it again, “We’ve got too much stuff!” Jan and I are changing jobs and all our worldly belongings were crammed into storage. Just eight years ago, we had disposed of everything (save a few family heirlooms) and moved onto a 40-foot boat. It felt so clean and unencumbered. Now we were wondering where we were going to put all this stuff we had accumulated.

The garage sale was a success, but, honestly, the most fun was giving it all away. People dreaded coming to my office because I sent them packing with double arm loads of books. We left the parsonage nearly furnished as we walked away from our living room furniture. The phone rang off the hook when Jan posted ads on Craig’s List for “Free Stuff.” They carted it all away and still we had too much stuff.

“I’ll need my table saw when we build the cabin,” I said. “I’ll need an outfit for our job interviews, and clothes for the island and the boat,” Jan replied. And there it all was – dining room table, grandma’s chest, lamps, box after box of kitchen equipment, dishes, office equipment, camping gear and clothes, sewing table, boat parts, TV trays, chest of drawers, beds and mattresses — boxes reaching back into the dark recesses of the storage unit. Things stacked floor to ceiling and not an inch to spare. Too much stuff!

So just how much do we really need? I desperately need the love of my wife. Without her, I would just be an empty shell. I need the love of my children and my grandchildren, but often they seem so far away. I need my friends for without them to share with, life wouldn’t be nearly so sweet. I need to walk in nature and feel the hand of God on my shoulder, but this stuff? No, Paul was right, “But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content,” (1 Timothy 6:6-8). The stuff I really need fills my heart and not my pockets – or a storage unit.