Moth and Rust


At this time of the year, I’m plagued with the same affliction as the rest of my American friends: “How on earth can I spend my wealth to buy some temporary crap that will make my family happy for like a minute and end up in the Goodwill pile by next Christmas?”  Oh the choices… Frozen costume or Frozen Barbie? Shoddily made plastic sword or I’m-gonna-break-in-a-hot-second plastic bow and arrow? There’s all this front end flurrying to acquire the perfect gifts but I need to remember that when only remnents of Christmas decorations are rogue bits of glitter in a forgotten corner, there’s the anxiety that comes from dealing with all that stuff.

I really should learn my lesson about acquring more STUFF. I’ve been carting mountains of disregarded kitchen items (vegetable steamer, mug rack, plastic kids cups with 13.5 pieces), clothes I’ve worn once, hideous accessories, etc. to the second-hand drop sites on a near-weekly basis for the past several months. Because we are literally drowning in our things.

I’m sick to death of the piles and piles of items that are rotting away my peace. Things I’ve consumed in a moment of euphoria under the glow of a red SALE sign, things that have come in cardboard boxes along with the sub-nutritional assemblages marketed as what I should feed my kids. Paraphanalia that I had to have to commemorate a vacation, possesions that make me feel more spiritual, together, organized and perfect.

Puke. I hate it all.

And yet I keep buying. And at Christmas time, I want to have fun and give good gifts to my children (and friends and family). But I know in some ways, I’ll actually end up burdening them. My wise husband challenged me this year to think of the albatross that each purchase eventually becomes. When you buy something, you have to deal with it for as long as you possess it– which may involve insuring it, cleaning it, fixing it, storing it, paying it off or disposing of it.

The more stuff, the more to consume our time and energy. Oh my gosh, I’m floored by the time I spend de-cluttering, breaking down boxes from Amazon, listing coats on Ebay (count ’em…SEVEN of my old coats this past month; please consider still being my friend even though I clearly am a hoarder) and meeting moms in sketchy parking lots who’re willing to take barely-played with kids toys off my hands. What I could do with that time and the peace I’m robbing myself of because I’m in the CYCLE: Buy for a moment of happiness–> feel burdened,–>purge–>do it again? Maybe focus on something eternal, something for God’s glory?

Jesus was good to share His wisdom on everything important and He had amazing things to say about this. “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.” Matthew 6:19

Why? Because He knew our possessions would distract us from the truly important and life-giving aspect of our short lives: Him and His kingdom. You’re probably familiar with that verse if you know the Bible at all, like I have been my whole life. But it’s finally hitting me as I’m seeking to get out from under all I’ve acquired, Jesus wasn’t trying to be a kill-joy, he’s trying to keep us out of a life of bondage. He knew that we would NOT be satisfied with our earthly treasures. At all.

He asks us instead to, “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust DO NOT destroy….For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. v.20-21) He doesn’t give us a three point outline of exactly what we should and shouldn’t have or how many Christmas presents is too many. But He asks us to focus our hearts on Him and His purposes. Which we totally can not do if we’re constantly managing all of our junk.

I don’t want to spend my life giving all my best efforts to things that moth and rust will destroy anyway. Why not join me in purging? Or toning down the consumption in favor of peace and eternal focus?  If God is calling you (and me) to less excess, maybe it’s because He wants our attention. He wants us to be in relationship with Himself and others. So, the point is not to feel guilt about your shopping list or what’s under your tree. It’s to start waking up to the possibility that all the things we acquire actually leave us in a state of bondage. And Jesus came as a baby that we might be free.

Wishing you the Peace that our Savior brings,





  1. Nikki Douglass says:

    I will still gladly be your friend even though you sold seven coats! You made me laugh and do some self analysis. Thanks for being so candid and for the challenge during this consumer plagued season.