Don’t Leave Home Without It! (Marketing Credit: American Express)
Memory Verse: Matthew 28: 20 - Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the world. Amen.
Intro: Never Leave Home Without It (Marketing Credit: American Express) Diapers, bottles, wipes, bibs, pacifiers, extra clothing, cell phone, PDA, ipod, iphone, credit or debit cards … what would you never leave home without?
Assignment: In the memory verse Jesus tells us that He will never leave us, not even at the end of the world. He assures us in this verse that He will be with us and that means through everything we go through in life. I thought it would be interesting to write about the things we would never leave home without. For some it might be baby needs, others it might be a gym bag and bottle of water, and for some it might be your Bible and a notepad or small journal, maybe even your son or daughters favorite blankie! I’d like for you to write about something that you would never leave home without.
I'm a pack-rat. My mom is a pack-rat, her mom was a pack-rat. I don't know, but I'm pretty sure that Great-Grandma Ehlert was a pack-rat; that would fit the family pattern.
When I think of things I wouldn't "leave home without", I think of evacuation situations...maybe because this is hurricane season and that's at the front of my mind. We've talked about evacuating, and we decided we would probably not leave unless we heard there was a tsunami coming...but we probably wouldn't get a whole lot of advance warning in that situation! I'd want to rescue my keyboard (piano, not computer) and the other musical instruments we have. I'd grab my laptop and my Bible bag and I'd be set. The other electrical equipment (computer and etc.) we would just cart upstairs and pray the waves didn't come this far inland (We're only a couple hundred yards from the shore, so the chances of having the ocean in our house is pretty good if a storm hit at high tide.) .
I just re-read that last paragraph and found myself surprised that such a self-proclaimed pack-rat could be so blasé about leaving everything she owned to the mercies of the elements. God's been doing quite a work in my heart over the past years!
When I married Doug, I still had boxes of mementos and memorabilia (sp?) from junior high. Not just photos and scrapbooks, but movie ticket stubs and empty popcorn bags. I don't know about you, but I do not see a real pressing need for me to keep ticket stubs from "Romancing the Stone". It really wasn't that good a movie!!!
Over the years I've pared down. A lot. Most of our married life, we lived in homes of 1000 sq. feet or less. That's not bad for one or two people, but when you find yourself with 6, 7 or 8 people...there's really not room for 32 gallon tubs full of keepsakes and shelves full of knick-knacks.
Three years ago, God asked us to make the "big break". Were we willing to leave it "all" to follow Him to the mission field? Yes, we were willing. We sold everything -- home, truck, and 14 tons of miscellaneous junk -- and moved to Mexico. To be honest, we moved here with an 8x16 foot trailer and left a storage shed full of "debris" in Oregon.
What were the things we brought with us? Books. Tools. Clothing. Musical instruments. Kitchen supplies. I tried to bring my canning jars and all the blueberries and applesause I had processed, but they were just too heavy. Sigh.
If I had it all to do again, though, I wouldn't bring half the things I brought down. By American standards, we really don't have all that much, but when I look at my friends' houses here I realize how much JUNK I have! I also realize how incredibly blessed I've been all my life.
Let me just give you an example...dishes. I have enough plates, cups, bowls, and silverware for our whole family and our whole Bible-study fellowship group to sit down and eat a meal together. I'll bet most of you reading this post do, too. It's no big deal -- they're nothing fancy. I think I bought most everything at Wal-Mart and it's all cheap plastic (all the glass broke years ago!). I have friends here who feed their kids and then wash the plates so the grown-ups can eat...every meal. Having all those dishes doesn't make me all that special, it saves me a little work (maybe) but when one of the villagers looks at my kitchen, they see this cupboard full of dishes and think, "Wow! This is a rich American family!" I don't really like that. I don't want folks to think of us as "rich" in worldly stuff, but more importantly I don't want there to be a barrier between us simply because I've got more cheesy imitation Tupperware than they do.
That leads me to my Bible verse for the week...
"Neither store up for yourselves treasure on earth where moths and rust destroy or theives break in and steal, but store up for yourselves treasure in heaven...for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21
I'm a pack-rat by nature, but praise the Lord I don't have to stay that way!!! I pray that God continues to grow me and to prune out that part of me that tends to "store stuff"!
For my photo this week, I decided to post a shot of my Bible. Sarah (my daughter) and I were talking about Bibles this past week and we both agreed that there's something very special about your own Bible. I can even read a different Bible of the same version and it just isn't the same. My mom bought this Bible for me when I was 17. I have many, many hours of study and many, many hours of tearful prayer tucked away in these pages. To me it is very much living and active and powerful!!! I most definitely wouldn't leave home without it!!!