Garage Sale by Mark Dillow 2010 ©


Henry David Thoreau was an American philosopher who in the 1840’s, left civilization behind and endeavored to live a simple life, trying to only have what was necessary to live.  His experiment was documented in his work “Walden’s Pond.”  For example Thoreau only had two changes of clothing…one he was wearing; the other was to be washed that day.

On the other end of the spectrum is my friend Randy.  Going hunting with Randy is like going on safari.  Randy epitomizes the Boy Scout creed of “be prepared.”  Usually Randy has at least two of everything you could possibly need on an outdoor adventure.  I think part of Randy’s obsession with preparedness has to do with the lack of preparedness on the part of others who accompany him on these trips.  Sometimes the oversight of a small item like an extra pair of shoelaces or some camp cookware is fairly minor, but other times the forgotten item puts the whole outing in jeopardy.

I fall somewhere between Thoreau and Randy.  I have a fear of forgetting something on a trip, and thus I have become a list maker.  I have several stock checklists both in Excel and in Word for every type of trip I take, from kayak fly fishing at the coast to hog hunts in the hill country.  My goal isn’t necessarily to have extras of anything, but to forget nothing.

However a few years ago I learned the lesson of carrying too much stuff.  Two friends and I decided to backpack into the mountains of southern Colorado in the summer.  I tried to think of everything that I would need.  We would be at elevations approaching 12,500 feet, and the weather can be very cold at that altitude even in the summer.  We made lists to make sure we forgot nothing.  My pack ended up weighing in at about 70 pounds.

At first, I was able to handle the weight, but as the day went on, I could not keep up with my friends.  The air was thin, and I was not in great shape.  My legs began to cramp, first one then the other.  I was prepared for anything, but I wasn’t reaching my destination very fast.  I began looking for shortcuts, and hoping for an end to the trip rather than being able to drink in the beauty of that hike.

I hadn’t planned on getting weighed down.  In fact when I bought each of the things I thought I needed, they were all pretty small and light.  But as I accumulated the items together and had to carry them, the true weight of my burden was realized.  I began to remember the stories of the old west where the major trails settlers took were littered with non-essential items that were too valuable not to bring, but then eventually became a hindrance in reaching the ultimate goal, and they were tossed aside on the trail.

Our lives can be a lot like my hike.  We pick up things along the way that over time and as they accumulate, begin to weigh on us.

Hebrews 12:1“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Notice that there are things that hinder, and sin that entangles.  Things that hinder could be things that are essentially good things, but they pile up and keep us from God’s best for us.  Maybe it’s a hobby that you are putting ahead of God.  Maybe it’s a relationship, or a job, or a website.

On our backpacking trip we met a man who we shared a campsite with.  He had no tent, no heavy packages of food.  He slept under a tarp, and told me that he weighed his items before each trip and looked for ways to shave even an ounce or two from his load.  He was an experienced backpacker, and he learned long ago that having only the essentials along ensured that he would arrive at his destination in good shape, and allow him to accomplish his hike while enjoying the nature around him.

As you think about your life right now, are you having a hard time keeping up with what God has laid out for you?  How would you life be different if you were able to have a garage sale of the stuff on your back, and get it out of your life?  What would be easy to set aside?  What would be hard?

Some of you reading this may not know how to get rid of the junk in your life.  If you do not have a personal relationship with Christ, really have no way to get rid of that junk in your life, because apart from Christ, we all have a leaning toward sin and self.

The good news is you can have a garage sale too.  But you can’t do it alone.  The Bible says in Romans 10:9“That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”

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Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, And Your glory above all the earth.