As I stood inside my closet, my eyes fell upon stacks and stacks of shoeboxes. I glanced to my left and took in the sight of a shoe rack hanging on the wall. It was filled with even more shoes. I counted them and was shocked. And ashamed. I had 48 pair of shoes. Excess.
I fixed my gaze on the closet rod to my right and began looking at the long row full of shirts, jackets and blouses. I didn't even want to count them, but I did anyway. 100... I had 100 shirts hanging in my closet. And that didn't even count the sweaters that filled a drawer in my dresser. Or the t-shirts that filled another one. Excess.
I looked at my dresses and skirts and pants that occupied yet another rod in my closet. I didn't even bother to count. I knew there were too many.
As I walked into my bedroom from the closet, I opened my drawers and I continued to see too much. Way too much. And I was ashamed.
Who needs 20 pairs of pajama pants and matching shirts? Who needs 30 undershirts in every color possible? Why do I need a drawer filled with bracelets and earrings when I basically wear only a few of them. Why is there a cross on my dresser draped with about 30 necklaces that I never wear but keep them anyway?
I began to think about this and realized that I had becomes much too focused on clothes and shoes and stuff. Much too materialistic.. I had spent way too much money on things that were not very important. I had too much. Excess...And God began convicting my heart and speaking a word to my ailing spirit.
Excess... A quantity much larger than needed. A state of exceeding what is normal or sufficient.
I was guilty of excess alright.. Big-time excess. I suppose I have always been aware that I had too much. I buy things when I don't really need them. I buy things because they're cute and pretty, not necessarily because of a need I have for them. I spend way too much on frivilous things.
Did you know that 40% of the world, or 2.6 billion people, live on less than $2 a day. Two dollars a day.... I spend that much almost every day on a diet cherry coke from Sonic. And I will drive 13 miles to town and 13 miles back just to fill that craving. That is absurd. And that really shames me.
Did you know that 15% of the world, or 1.0 billion people, live on less than $1 a day. One dollar!
I am living in some major abundance while there are people working very hard for the price of a sonic drink. I waste more money than billions of people make.
Each day, over 26,500 children die of preventable causes related to their poverty. That is almost 10 million children a year. About 9 million people die each year due to causes related to hunger. There are over 350 million children in the world classified as 'hungry'.
And I am sitting here in my excess and not really giving much thought to the poverty that affects so many. I've never been hungry. Never missed a meal because of a lack of food. As a follower of Christ, I need to be more aware of the plight of so many people in this world. I need to realize that in my excess I am not doing what I should be doing to try and help. I am not being a good steward of what God as blessed me
The Lord has been showing me that there are many ways I can cut back in my excess and use it to begin helping those in need. God has been dealing with my heart on this and helping me to see that I have way too much and it's time to start scaling back. It's time to take the excess and give to those that need it. It's time to find a way to begin doing something to help fight against poverty in this world. It's more than just paying my tithe at church and thinking that's the best I can do. I can't just sit idly by and not try and do my part.
I am thankful that God used my closet to speak truth to my heart. I am thankful that He is changing me little by little and molding me more into who He wants me to be. I am thankful that He revealed this excess in my life deep into my heart.
"When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the alien" (Leviticus 23:22)
Join Dana for Thankful Thursday!
**statistics from "The Hole in our Gospel" by Richard Stearns