Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Surrendering Our Stuff

 Today as I drove around town picking up gifts for a wedding and my sons birthday party I was totally blessed to have caught James MacDonald's 'Walk In the Word' program--he was preaching on 'Surrendering Your Stuff'.

What a great message at Christmas time! Here is the typical American home:



We cannot afford it FINANCIALLY. (Americans are up to their necks in debt because of all the stuff we buy)

We cannot afford it SPACE-WISE. (We actually have to rent storage spaces to hold all our stuff)

We cannot afford it SPIRITUALLY. (Our stuff hinders us from walking fully with the Lord)

We pass this foolish cycle onto our CHILDREN. (How much stuff do your children have? Do they appreciate it?)

We KEEP OURSELVES AND OUR CHILDREN FROM GOD WITH OUR STUFF. (We do it everyday when we put our things first before God.)

I loved it! Last week we gave away over 20 bags to the Salvation Army and it felt soooooo good! I cannot wait to do more. It really makes you reevaluate what you buy at Christmas time and consider what matters most. It is so easy to be drawn into all the marketing of Christmas and forget the real meaning.

It's easy to be drawn into all the glamor of Christmas and equating gifts with love for others. But this is not what Christmas is about.  

It's about Jesus.

And that is where we need to keep the focus at. To actually give the gift of Jesus to someone this Christmas. This will look different for different families---but serving and giving are central to sharing his message. Adopt a widow or a family in need, go to a nursing home and share cookies and sing to the lonely, donate monies to a charity, bake for your neighbors and attach the gospel to it, volunteer in a soup kitchen---just remember to share Jesus all year round!

So, if you have about 20 minutes and like being rebuked by good, strong preaching and are overwhelmed by your stuff and Christmas, be sure to listen to 'Surrendering Your Stuff' Part 2'.


Daddys Chicks said...

What a great post. We have been getting rid of our stuff for two years now. We have scaled way back. During this time we have been doing the Dave Ramsey Baby step program. We first did the crown bible study together and this set us up for D.R.. God knew we needed to learn first how to better communicate before we could start tackling our dept. He has been so good to us and we try so hard to be faithful to Him. We are dept free except for our home. It's so nice to just let go of all our stuff! Have a blessed day.

Heather_in_WI said...

That sounds really helpful! I just downloaded parts one and two!


Anonymous said...

I heard that same message yesterday! It really spoke to me. Just recently I cleaned our our entire house(1100 sf). It was a big chore. Stuff accumulating over 10 years. YIKES!!! I took everything over to our Good Will. And it did feel very good. It was a great experience for my dd. For her just to let go of the stuff she didn't need was a great lesson.
Have a blessed day!

Mrs. June Fuentes said...


I am so glad, you won't be disappointed! I will probably try to listen to part one sometime today or tomorrow.

Many blessings...

Anonymous said...

We stopped exchanging Christmas gifts with each other a few years ago. And I'd never go back! The planning, the shopping, making sure everything was fair, on top of decorating, wrapping, baking, all of my regular chores and homeschooling left me a bear for a month or more. All so I could smile and have one nice day that didn't end up feeling like a celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior. Besides, I remember being a child and I didn't care about anything but getting to the toys! I don't believe that most children can look past recieving gifts. We're training them to be good little consumers for a month to focus on Jesus for a day. I'm pretty sure that I'm alone on this but for me at least gifts on Christmas don't make sense.

Brenda said...

I will try to listen to these after the girls have gone to bed. But I just have to ask...WHAT did you give away? Twenty bags? Seriously? What was in them?

To God Be The Glory said...


Mrs. Monise said...

What a wonderful post! I had actually posted a post about stuff but not so eloquently as this.

Have A Blessed & Glorious Day!

Mrs. T said...

Amen :D I'll have to check that message out.

I love to give gifts; it's my love language! I always feel sad if I don't get gifts at Christmas. But I'm not one that likes to accumulate "stuff" just because, or to give "stuff" just to give a gift. Maybe my kids won't get 50 thousand things under their tree, but they will get some well-chosen and thoughtful gifts.

I think my favorite gift I'm giving this year is to one of my sisters...she is a metal/jewelrysmith. I had taken pictures of her work for a brochure we did a few years ago, so I took a bunch of pictures of her newer stuff and then used a program online to make it into a hardcover book. It looks like a professional book, and I know she will treasure it. So it's not your average mall gift...I dislike those!

The gifts I like to give and recieve are ones that are practical or sentimental or both. :) Homemade is the best kind of gift, in my opinion! I'd rather have homemade bath salts that were made just for me than a $10 "gift basket" from a department store.

In our family, we give gifts to commemorate God's gift to humanity--Jesus! And gifts don't have to be material things. When I was growing up, we used to visit nursing homes every year and play for them (my brother plays piano, as do I and another brother, but I usually played violin along with a sister and a brother, and one sister played cello and another flute). We'd make enough cards and some sort of present for all of the residents to enjoy.

Gifts of time and experience are far better than gifts of material insignificance. :) Of course, a gift of time can be material too...one year I made everyone in my family a set of flannel pajamas, including myself. That was a lot of work considering there were seven kids, my parents, and my Grampa all in the house :) Everyone loved it and appreciated the time I put into it. I feel the same way. :)

Laura said...

This post is right on. You're right that with generosity, we also need to develop the discipline of simplifying and getting ready to go to Heaven! I just learned at http://theten0clockscholar.blogspot.com that cleaning out one's home in preparation for Christmas is actually a Scandinavian Advent tradition... symbolizing the "cleaning out" that must take place in our hearts as we anticipate Christ's return.

Melissa said...

Excellent post! And so timely!

Mrs. June Fuentes said...

Dear Brenda,

I really truly had good intentions with all those things I kept (who doesn't?)like handing down clothes to a sibling or another family or selling it at my next garage sale---but I just didn't have the time. And I think the bulk of it was clothes that my children (I have 8 as you already know)had grown out of. Anyways, it was wonderful to get rid of it all and I still have more things I could get rid of hiding out in my garage. Hopefully I will get time to get to it before the cold winter sets in.

Mrs. June Fuentes said...


That sounds so interesting, I will have to check that out. I was just thinking something very similar across those same lines but find it quite daunting to set such lofty goals for myself during the holiday season. Perhaps a renewal of the mind is in order!

Many blessings...

Chanin said...

This was excellent. Thank you :)

Anonymous said...

I am preparing to move, and I've been careful to only pack the things I love. The rest of them, go to Goodwill. :)

Linda said...

*lol* I see this subject popping up on blogs everywhere now.... and I'm glad, you ladies 'got it right' ;) !

It reminds me of the other day, when my husband and I drove around the old part of our town. (we live in the netherlands and our village is about 1000 years old. with this old part I mean the houses that were built -on a dyke, of course!- in the 1800's) ..

ALL of these houses (no exeption) were made larger (rooms added..) within the last, say, 50 years. Which got us thinking:

In the old days, families were bigger. They surely consisted of at least 8 people. Nowadays you're lucky if that's half of it (2 kids, 2 parents). Yet, while these 8 people in the 1900's could comfortably live in the original house, these 4 'new' people feel like they need twice the space divided between half the people!

So we came to the conclusion that.... in 'the old days' PEOPLE lived in houses, whereas today STUFF lives there....


Anonymous said...

I'll bet your donation of children's clothing is MUCH appreciaated! When mine were littler, I don't know what I would have done without thrift stores...for the kids, for myself! So much good stuff to be had, most of it in great condition. I, in turn, passed it on when we no longer needed it.


Brenda said...

Linda, very interesting. I think you are on to something.

Paula said...

I hate "stuff" and love getting rid of the absolutely worthless items--for us it is an absolute accumulation of paper. I was telling my husband today that I'm drowning in forms--a form for this, a form for that--it used to be you could make a phone call to take care of items in 5 minutes--now it's fill out a form--YUK!! And I don't want one more gift for our home for Christmas (do I sound curmudgeonly or what??)! Stuff just overflows and if you don't keep on top of it, you get clutter which I can't stand. Okay, off of soapbox now!! LOL


Anonymous said...

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm... Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

It's ironic how you post something about cutting down on possessions while all your pictures show lavish settings full of beautiful clothes, homes...etc.

Mrs. June Fuentes said...

Dear Anonymous,

That is exactly the point. We have been blessed and we need to share the blessings with others. Especially the most important, knowing Christ.

Tiany said...

Thank you for this timely post! I could not agree with you more! I look forward to hearing this sermon!

Rhonda Devine said...

I've too been contemplating this same idea--seems the Lord is laying it upon many believer's hearts to re-examine their priorities.
Want a great way to start your holiday season? Watch "The Nativity Story"--it will bring your focus and your children's back to the true meaning of Christmas and you'll forget about all the hype and commercialism that surrounds you.
Also, what about substituting those expensive throw away gifts for something that you've made yourself--it means a lot more to someone to receive something that you've put some time into--we have done this for several years and every year my children look forward to making something for their cousins:)
Rhonda Devine

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