We have been blessed to have some friends of ours move back to town after almost a decade away. Real friends. It is such a huge gift in life to have real friends, isn't it? The kind of friends who offer help and actually mean it. Who truly care about you as a whole person.
These were actually friends of my husbands more so than mine. They moved back to have a more stable, less frantic style of life for their family. And it has worked.
My husband grew up with his friend in the church, and then they both kind of wandered away. Myself and his friends wife both had limited experience with the church growing up. It never really fit. I always felt a little bit less than all of the other people there, like I didn't quite fit in.
Then I met my soon to be husband, and it all changed. We started going to bible studies, and did a marriage class at his family's church. The church family began to adopt me. And it fit.
Our friends never joined us at church, other than our wedding day. And then they moved on to a totally different pace of life.
When they came back, she let me know that her youngest son was interested in going to church, and she had always told them that she would support them in whatever decision they made. And that she was willing to go with them to church if they chose. She was more of a spiritual person, believing as many do that doing no harm was really all that was needed. A relationship with God wasn't really required.
So they started to come to church with my and the kids. I introduced her to study bibles, which I've always found much easier to understand. We became the sounding board for her discoveries, which caused us to dig into the word more ourselves. It caused us to discuss things that we hadn't before.
She went from coming just to support her child, to encountering Jesus for the first time.
She was baptized recently, jumping in with both feet to this beautiful new relationship. She has renewed my desire to dig into this relationship that all too easily falls to the wayside. She has finally found where she fits. And it has been so beautiful to watch.
Friends, I know that it is oh so easy to neglect spending time building our relationship with Jesus. It feels like one of the balls that you can afford to drop. That thinking is the result of living in a fallen world, where we are convinced that things will make is happy. That the time spent working is time invested in acquiring all of the stuff that are supposed to fulfill us.
What would your life look like if you focussed on the people in our lives, and building relationships? What if we purposefully gathered people together instead of gathering more items? I think you would realize that the popular thinking isn't necessarily the right thinking. That maybe an older, simpler lifestyle, if adopted, could be more fulfilling than you can imagine. As the old saying states, people won't remember the colour of your couch at your passing, but they will remember the time you spent with them.
I implore you to create a better, more caring world by refusing to participate in the hoarding of stuff. To stop working yourself to the bone for the things that will never complete you in the way you hope they will.
Let's spend our time gathering together to invest in memories. We can enjoy simple, filling meals at the same time that we pour into each other.
We can let go of the clutter that makes us feel like our houses are too messy to have guests. We can spend less time shopping for stuff to fill our houses, and simplify. Less time cleaning will also lead to more time spent gathering together. And you can bless someone out of your overflow of possessions at the same time. Isn't that a wonderful thought?
I truly believe that times like these are given to us to remind us that we have a truly loving Father who desires more for us than full closets. He wants us to have full hearts, that can pour into others. He wants us to have community. He wants us to reach out to the broken, the people just like us, that need to experience the grace that we have already received.
I don't know what your life looks like right now. I don't know if you have an amazing group of people to share life with, or if you are desperately praying for just one person to do life with. I do know that all of us would benefit from more time spent with our Heavenly Father. And that having people to share our burdens and joys with are what we were designed for.
Heavenly Father, I pray that you would open our eyes to the things we can let go of. That you would give us opportunities to unclutter both our houses and our minds. I pray that we would find meaningful relationships to build in to, and that we would maintain those relationships that we already have. I pray that we would learn to give grace as freely as you do, and that you would fill our hearts to overflowing, so that we could share with others. In faith I pray. Amen.