The Dump and the Cemetery

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Living Stones Series: First Published in All Around Old Bridge Publication – May 2019

By Pastor Lloyd Pulley

Does your hamper spark joy? Yes, the hamper that holds your dirty jeans. Although this question may seem odd, it's one that Marie Kondo of the "KonMari Method" would ask. Named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People, Kondo is a professional organizer and bestselling author of several books. Kondo's series of books on "tidying up" and "sparking joy" have sold over 10 million copies worldwide. Her Netflix series has sparked a decluttering craze leading to an influx of donations to charities including Goodwill and Salvation Army.

The "KonMari Method" involves sorting your possessions by type and asking each one if it "sparks joy?" The answer helps to decide whether you keep or trash the item. If asking an item if it sparks joy seems a bit new-age and borderline ridiculous: ask yourself if you've ever purchased an item thinking it would bring you joy.

This question is especially significant at this time of year. It's time for Spring Cleaning! We are at the tail end of Spring, so it's time you got started sorting through the clutter in your basement and garage. Look through those things you thought would bring you joy, but now take up so much space: there's no room to park your car inside the garage.

Why are we so overwhelmed with stuff? Are we looking to things to bring us joy? Do we assume those things will satisfy? Truth is, things don't last! Yet we prioritize our time and attention on things that matter little in the end. We then regret how little we focused on what really matters most. Even our bodies get old, wear out and die. We wonder, do I have an eternal soul? The answer to that from scripture is surprisingly: no! You do not have a soul! You are a soul!! And you have a body, that will one day wear out!

I have an assignment for you: how about a field trip to the county dump? The only difference between your possessions and the stuff at the dump is time! In fact, the dump has seniority over your stuff. It was there first! And all your stuff will one day end up there. Perhaps that may help us detach ourselves from the stuff of this world. But the real key is to experience a bigger passion for what is eternal: then things will be put in their proper perspective. Ask yourself, "Do I use people to get stuff or use stuff to invest in people?"

The Bible teaches that you were made for eternity, but due to sin you've been separated from God. So, you have an attachment to this world: for you have a body that likes stuff, but you are a soul and only that will last forever. It's either souls or stuff that receive our focus. You are either focused on God and people, who are eternal, or you are about yourself and your wants.

When it's all said and done, what will be put on your tombstone? I'm guessing it's not, "He drove a fancy car" or "She had a mansion" or "He was head of a Fortune 500 company." More likely it will be "Beloved Father" or "Loving Daughter." Your tombstone will say nothing about what you owned but everything about what you were to other people. That's the true legacy you leave. The mark on your soul and the souls of others.

Think about the next generation and what we are modeling for them. Are you distracted by accomplishments and pushing and stressing yourself out? We need to show our children the model for who we want them to be. Author John Rosemond said he asked a group of parents to write one word of what they would want their children to be at the age of 30. Most people said; responsible, charitable, kind, hardworking, compassionate. Nothing on the list was about accomplishments. Because ultimately, it's not about accomplishments. It's about character. It's about who we are, not what we do. For when we die we leave behind all we have, but we take with us all we are!

So please do this homework assignment, which is the same one I gave to the members of our church. First, visit the county dump. I want you to look over it, smell the scent of the rotting junk that we so thought would fulfill us. It's a great lesson for your kids and their wants. Show them where it all ends up. Let them enjoy the wafting smells in the air.

Second, visit the local cemetery. Visit where it all ends. How quickly your name will be on one of those stones. How quickly life passes. What's it going to matter then? So, the next time you're thinking of that new and shiny thing and putting your hope in a material possession, turn instead to the one who truly gives hope. His name is Jesus! He paid the ultimate price by giving His life, so he could bring us back into relationship with Him and be reconnected to what really matters!

Marj Lancaster