Out of the Ordinary

Out of the ordinary

“All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.” – Acts 2:44-45 (NIV)

In today’s world, that’s out of the ordinary. Unfortunately, society preaches the opposite: More is better! People seem to acquire more “things” that they seem to hold onto with a firm grip. Of course, I understand necessities or essentials – for example, people need transportation to get to work – but WHAT IF you and I sold our *nonessentials* in order to provide for those who truly have need?

Here’s what worked for me: Go into your closet, around your house, your basement (I know, it might be intimidating!) Imagine God with you – imagine God cleaning those places out with you. What would He throw in the “to be sold so others may eat” pile?

In my pile were (just to name a couple):

Handbags:

Me: “But God, I really like those bags. This cute little black one, yeah I use it when I go out to dinner with my husband.”

God: “Britt, when was the last time you went out to dinner with you husband?”

Me (shuffles feet): “Um … does PB&J in our backyard when the kiddos go to sleep count?

God: “Britt, you really don’t use that bag, do you?”

Me: “I guess not.”

A fancy dress that I wore back in 2005:

Me: “But God, this was a dress that I wore to a very special ball. It saw important people! I looked so good in this dress! What if I go somewhere fancy again and need this dress?!”

God: “Britt, have you worn this dress since? And don’t start on who you think important people are – remember, I have no favorites. Oh, by the way, give me a break – the dress couldn’t possibly see anyone because it’s not living – whereas I have children all over the world who could benefit from you selling this dress.”

Me (bites lip): “Well, when you put it like that …”

Can you think of some things that you are holding onto? Why are you holding onto them? Are they really that important?

This will be hard. The enemy will try and deceive you. Here’s what he tried whispering in my ear:

“Ah, but what sort of difference would one, two or even a hundred people make? This is a waste of time. Besides, you deserve to hold onto these things. Someone else will take care of those kids.”

But fight back!

Remember that your faith tells you that we serve an amazingly loving God who will work through us – can you imagine the possibilities if you take that first step?

14 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Vicki Small August 22, 2009

    Lisa, I hear you! I suspect that, in many cases, such people really cannot “afford it,” because they’re in debt over their heads for their homes and vehicles. God help each of us to align our values and priorities with Yours!

  2. Britt August 22, 2009

    I’ve enjoyed reading the comments…Thanks for sharing!

  3. Lisa Miles August 22, 2009

    Great post, Brittany!

    There seems to be such competition these days to have more/bigger/better houses, cars, clothes, TV’s, whatever. I think it takes courage to just step back and say, “I’m not playing that game.”

    I was reading an article that said the average house in the U.S. today is 2,349 square feet, more than double the size of the average house in the 1950’s. Where it used to typical to have one bathroom in a home now there must be a bathroom for each bedroom. Imagine how excessive that looks from a village in Africa!

    I’m glad the U.S. is prosperous and I will never put that down, but as a Christian, there have to be better things to do with your time and money than acquire things. I think your post addresses that beautifully!

    I’ll admit I’m discouraged when I approach people about sponsoring a child who say they, “just can’t afford it,” when I’m standing in the foyer of their $400,000 home with two brand-new SUV’s parked in the driveway.

  4. geri August 21, 2009

    We moved about 2 years ago and couldn’t believe the amount of junk we had built up. Sine moving we don’t buy any “spur of the moment” things that we “need”. We go home, think and pray before we go back. Perhaps 80% of the time we don’t got back. We have got a lot better and this has allowed us to sponsor more children but I know we still buy things that aren’t necessary. We still have a long way to go. Geri

  5. Denny Milbourn August 20, 2009

    Excellent thoughts Brittany and thanks for sharing. They come at a good time as my family and I are preparing to clean out our basement and garage. I will remember this post as we do this task..

    Sarah-thanks for sharing the quote!! I had never heard that before.

  6. Amy Wallace August 20, 2009

    Wow, this kind of makes me look down in shame. I have so much junk lying around that I don’t use anymore. When I bought this stuff, I just HAD to have it (or so I thought), but really, all it does is clutter up my room. If only we could live like the church in Acts did.

    Great post!

  7. Juli Jarvis August 20, 2009

    Excellent post and comments here!

  8. Vicki Small August 20, 2009

    Good post, Britt!

    “Ah, but what sort of difference would one, two or even a hundred people make? This is a waste of time. Besides, you deserve to hold onto these things. Someone else will take care of those kids.”

    If I make a difference for only one child, that’s better than doing nothing.

  9. Caren August 20, 2009

    The issue is discernment for what God has allowed into our lives.

    What’s going on in this passage from Acts, is that believers were selling their possessions— not their excesses and extravagant non-essentials. After all, when we sell our indulgences to another we are simply encouraging others to step down into the fleshly desires that brought those purchases to our door in the first place.

    After I accepted Christ, I decided to rid myself of all the trashy novels I had accumulated. Just before I arrived at the donation box for our local literacy organization, I realized that what I was really doing was pouring my filth into someone else’s life as an act of charity. My kindheartedness was being misdirected by the evil one! returning home, I deposited the books where they belong—in the trash.

  10. Sandy August 20, 2009

    Originally Posted By Sarah Charles

    “Live Simply so others may Simply Live.”

    off.

    That quote was from Mahatma Gandhi.

    Look at the inpact one man had on the world by living that philosophy…imagine the condition of the world if we all did.

  11. Jill Foley August 20, 2009

    Great points Britt!!! I often think that I would be embarrassed to have my sponsored children over to my house – how would we even to begin to explain the excess that we think we “need”.

    I’ve recently tried taking up philosophy of minimalism when it comes to our possessions…still have a LONG way to go!

    and Sarah…LOVE that quote! I’ve heard it before, but it’s such a great reminder!

  12. Meredith August 20, 2009

    Mrs. Clark!

    Beautifully written! Thanks for the reminder and perspective:)

    I look forward to meeting you soon!

  13. Kristen August 20, 2009

    What a timely message, Britt. My sister-in-law is having a garage sale this weekend and I keep telling myself I need to do this to raise some money for gifts for my sponsored kids. Every night this week I have planned on going through my house and pulling out “non-essentials” to sell. I haven’t done it – out of pure laziness. Shame on me. I’m cleaning house!!! Thanks for the swift kick in the ****, Britt!

  14. Sarah Charles August 20, 2009

    I heard a quote that sums this up:

    “Live Simply so others may Simply Live.”

    There are many ways i could simplify my life so that other people would be much better off.

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