Before I share with you today, please let me say that I am so grateful for those around the world that read this blog!  Whether you are a reader in Germany, Spain, United Kingdom, Russia, Latvia, Romania, Canada, Brazil, Cyprus, Iran, Indonesia, Italy, India, Canada, Senegal, France or the United States of America- I am grateful for your readership and my prayers are with you! I am so praying that these written words might be an encouragement to you right where you are.  None of us choose when in history, where, or which family we are born into and yet we all can share so many common things! If you are the least bit blessed, please keep reading and sharing these words of encouragement with those you know…

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    Tonight I am preparing for our once every 5 year yard sale.  As we are loading up the tables, I remember that at one time we had really wanted all the things now packed into our van .  We were so determined to gain ownership and then we set an example for our children by filling our home with items that are now in  boxes with a fluorescent sticker.  I can’t help but wonder – why?  Why do we pursue ownership of things that don’t last forever?  Why do we invest in ownership of lifeless items that depreciate in value so quickly? It was about 31 years ago when I began to notice what the pursuit of ownership can do…

      I was born in the Midwest of the United States in the early 1970’s to a father whose vision was to be like his father before him.  He strove to be a self-made, independent, business owner with wealth and influence.  After a few moves as a small child, when I entered kindergarten we moved into one of the nicest towns and home in our area at the time.  I did not know these things as a young child.  I thought that flying in airplanes, enjoying our boat, traveling often, and riding in new cars was normal.  My father would have been the first to say that he was living the American dream in the 70’s and 80’s.  We as his family however, were living an American nightmare.  The mounting bondage of debt and bad partnerships lead my dad down a numbing road of escape, denial, and mounting greed.  Our family of five and my parents’ marriage became a casualty of one man’s obsession with the pride of ownership and gaining the appearance of having it all.  I’ve heard often that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”   I was a witness to a widely accepted  “insanity” that  fueled my fathers justified and temporal choices.  He temporarily gained the approval of men but ultimately lost most of his family, most of his truest friends, and all that he once grasped in his hands before his passing.

     Can anything good come from situations like these?  For me, those stormy times have been able to make the few good memories I cling to shine all the brighter.  While many eyes are on our government, my prayer is that we would once again rise up to be a land of the free and the home of the brave, especially in these challenging and deceiving times.  To accomplish this, I look back through my past and find a few lessons that I can’t help but apply and consider as a citizen of our country..

  • I’ve witnessed debt give a false sense of freedom for awhile- until the debtors come to collect and remind the borrower that he is slave to the lender. 
  •  Pride of ownership only remains temporarily until someone else has something that we want. 
  • It takes unusual bravery to go against the world’s traditional pattern and become content with what you have (and have not) been entrusted.
  • When someone humbly takes personal responsibility- it is the first step towards freedom from the bondage of debt and long lasting joy.
  • Eventually everything we physically own will end up sold at a yard sale, donated to a thrift store, or in the junk yard.

     Is anyone else but me fed up with this crazy cycle?  Which generation will heroically and wisely model what some wise grandparents or great- grandparents did for us; work hard, pay your bills, pay cash, don’t overspend, save for a rainy day, and generously give what we have even if it is only our faith, a smile, a word of encouragement, or a simple act of love?   These ideas may be currently counter cultural and unpopular but so what?  They may be just the answers we’ve been looking for!  I pray that we would willingly jump off of this crazy cycle and seek to follow faithful leaders that are modeling what we hope to emulate.   Just think- we will eventually have less stuff  to trip over, less to sell in our yard sales, less to worry about, less to leave behind, and more time to give thanks to God for truly giving us so much to enjoy.

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”  So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5 & 6