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Excess, Excess, Excess!!

In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. - Luke 14:33

Facts that make me physically ill:

According to globalissues.org, nearly 1/2 (3 billion) of the world’s population live on less than $2.50 a day. More than 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty, which is less than $1.25 a day.

80% of the world’s population lives on less than $10 a day (globalissues.org).

According to the Census Bureau, the average yearly income in Indiana is $44,000.

According to Threadflip.com, men spend about $1,700 a year on buying their clothing and related items. Women spend $3,400 dollars a year.

On average, a woman has roughly 90 items of clothing in her closet, which is worth approximately $1,000 dollars. Around 51% of those items are not used anymore. AT ALL.

How is it that we spend $3,400 on clothing and related items, but what’s in our closet adds up to only $1,000? Do you ever buy clothing, put it in your closet, and then later wonder where it went, or if you do find it, why you ever bought it in the first place? I think this happens with our groceries too.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about excess again this week. I’ve walked by my closet a lot, just shaking my head. I even cleaned it out over the weekend. I probably took out 30 items of clothing to give away. But my closet is still full…

I kept justifying why I needed to keep a lot of it, even though I never wear most of it. Why is that?

Switching to a couple of facts about food and waste…

As much of 40% of food goes uneaten, is wasted, in U.S., according to estimates from the Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency (that is $165 billion dollars every year). If just 15% of this food was saved, it would be enough to feed 25 million Americans.

The average American family spends between $632 and $1,252 per month on grocery bills, according to a recent survey by Department of Agriculture.

I have walked by my two pantries crammed with food a lot too. I watch as my children scraped a lot of food into the trash because they don’t like it or don’t want it. No one worried about it or even gave it a thought, because there is always more available.

I felt disturbed by all of this. What has happened to me, to us? If this disturbs me, then I need to do something different. If I don’t do something different, how will I ever teach my children to do anything different than they are doing? I must be intentional.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” – Mathew 19:23-24

So I guess the big question is this: who is the “rich man?”

I found the answer (which I already knew in my gut) in Francis Chan’s book called, “Crazy Love.”

Because we don’t usually have to depend on God for food, money to buy our next meal, or shelter, we don’t feel needy. In fact, we generally think of ourselves as fairly independent and capable. Even if we aren’t rich, we are “doing just fine.”
If one hundred people represented the world’s population, fifty-three of those would live on less than 2$ a day. Do you realize that if you make $4,000 a month, you automatically make one hundred times more than the average person on this planet? Simply by purchasing this book, you spent what a majority of people in the world will make in a week’s time.
Which is more messed up-that we have so much compared to everyone else, or that we don’t think we’re rich? That on any given day we might flippantly call ourselves “broke” or “poor”? We are neither of those things. We are rich. Filthy rich. (pg. 89, Crazy Love)

Big sigh.

But there is hope here...
Thank God for Mathew 19:25-26:
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

One more quote from Francis Chan:

But we need to realize that how we spend our time, what our money goes toward, and where we will invest our energy is equivalent to choosing God or rejecting Him.
Do you know that nothing you do in this life will ever matter, unless it is about loving God and loving the people He has made?
(pg. 97, Crazy Love)

A lot to ponder and wrestle with.

And yes, I’m still wrestling. I don’t think Michael and I will go out and sell everything we own today. But how about stopping the excess, getting rid of the excess? It’s such a distraction. It’s such a waste of valuable resources. It’s unbiblical! It’s not what Jesus would do. Enough said.

So, some thoughts and goals for this month in our family as we move forward:

-Go through our clothes and give away the excess (1/2, according to the statistics) to someone in need.

-No wasted food at meals. NONE. Only take what we will eat.

-Stop buying more snacks and pantry items. Use what I already have! Give 50% to the local Food Bank.

-Pray for ways God wants us to rethink the issues of food and clothing in our specific family.

-Continue our project with the homeless that we are doing as a family.

-Brace myself as I move on to read the next two chapters in Jen Hatmaker’s book called, “7-an experimental mutiny against excess.” The next two chapters discuss possessions and media. Hang on, I’m fairly certain it isn’t going to get easier!

Lord, help us. Forgive me. Open our minds and hearts to what you want us to see. Help us see through Your eyes. Amen.

What do you think? Will you join me in the wrestle?

I would love to know your thoughts, feedback, ideas….!!! Please comment below and share!

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If you are an imperfect wife, mom, daughter, or friend, struggling to stay focused on God in the craziness and find joy in the heartache, then we have something in common. I am a recovering perfectionist and daughter of the King, slowly learning to fully trust the One who sees me just as I am, and is already pleased. I’m so glad you are here.

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