Monday, August 2, 2010

Monday Morning Offering - 104


Image: George Mendoza

Good morning, good God!

I can't get the story out of my head, Lord...
the story you told of the rich man
who had so much grain and so many goods
he had to tear down his barns to build larger ones...

I don't have a barn, Lord,
not a large one, not even a small one --
but I've got closets and bureaus,
drawers and boxes,
wallets, purses and portfolios,
trunks and canvas bags,
the cellar, the attic and a spare room and...
and I have so much more than I need, Lord,
so much more than I need...

I have too much stuff...
I have too many things...
I collect things I don't need...
I have multiples of things I only need one of...
I have too many vestments, too many shoes
and too many clothes
(too many that fit and too many that don't)...
I have too many toys of all kinds and varieties..
I have too much money...

And the money thing -
that's what defines the dilemma, Lord...
It's not that I have a lot of money, I don't -
but when I look around the world, I know
I have more than I need...

I have more than I need of so many things...

That's the hard question, Lord:
how much of anything do I really need...?

When I ponder that question honestly,
I know I have much more than I need...

I'm not going to offer you all my stuff, Lord -
you don't need it, you don't want it...

But I have these to offer, Lord,
parts of me that need healing...

I offer for your mercy and healing:
my desire to have more and more...
my desire to have more than I need...
my desire for collecting things for the sake of collecting them...
my desire to have more for more's sake...
my desire to have more than others have...
my desire to buy, to have, to get, to grab, to own:
the fastest, the newest, the sleekest whatever-it-might-be
- and to have it before others do...

I offer for your mercy and healing
my need to have...
My need to have:
full shelves, full closets,
full bank accounts,
full boxes and bags of whatever I want
- and my need to still want more...

I offer for your mercy and healing
my tendency to stuff the empty places in my heart
with junk, with filler,
with the material, with the make-believe,
with so much less
than my heart deserves,
so much less than I deserve
so much less than you want for me, Lord...

I offer for your healing
the impulse to fill myself with so much less
than the lasting treasures my heart longs for,
the gifts you offer me every day...

Help me simplify my life, Lord...
Help me give away, give up,
clean out, cast off, go without,
do without, strip away,
and lighten the load:
to empty my heart
of anything less than what it deserves,
anything less than what truly satisfies...

And make me generous, Lord,
in sharing and giving to others the things I have
and for which so many have a much greater need...

Help me see the needs
of those whose paths cross mine this day, Lord,
and open my heart to be ready to give freely,
without counting the cost...

Such is my prayer's offering this Monday morning, Lord
and through this day and night
and the through all the week ahead...

Amen.


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8 comments:

apc said...

This prayer just really hits the nail on the head for me this morning. I am surrounded by too much....as probably most of us are. I was selling $20 raffle tickets yesterday at a local supermarket for our church bazaar in August. The grand prize is $10,000 and is their biggest fund raiser. One gentleman plopped down a $100 bill and said he would take 5 tickets. We joked and laughed for a bit and then he got very serious and said he had been given much and you have to give back. Doesn't that apply to all who have been surrounded by all we have been given and should really "give back" more. Instead we often seem to want more toys. What is the message we send to our children & grandchildren?
Thank you for making me look at this overabundance again.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful prayer- something to think about frequently.

Teahcer

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

This is beautiful, Father! We actually did follow that scripture to give away everything once upon a time. We moved from a 13-room house to a small RV on the river. We gave the children anything that they might have wanted after we died -- it was very little, just a few poor man's heirlooms, like the Indian arrowhead that had been passed down in the family. We sold as much as we could of the rest in a garage sale. Our stuff was not popular; we are not rich. We made a couple hundred dollars, no more, but we were not looking for money. I wrote to libraries around the world; they took my 5000 books. Harvard & University of Illinois, where I have friends on the faculty took the exotic ones. Teaching organizations and libraries in places like Uzbekistan and Siberia, desperate for books (my books were in many languages) took others. I gave all of them away; that was hard, but the information was in my head and I did not truly need to have it in my hand. Finally, we had a neighbor who provides assistance to the Philippines take the rest away. He filled up an entire moving van with children's books, household goods, and clothing. He was delighted; we were delighted. It was the most freeing thing we ever did. Know what? Although we were left with only a few changes of clothing and our computers, we have never missed all that stuff. (We did the same thing again when we moved to Jordan and again when we moved back, except that I did bring a dining room table back from Jordan - it had some sentimental value for me.) Living for a week with the Bedouins while I was in Jordan taught me that all we need is a few clothes (fewer than we think), sources of food (fewer than we think), friends, and God. All the rest is surplus.

Have a blessed week and thanks again for that wonderful prayer for starting the week.

ConcordPastor said...

You've given me (and others, too, I'm sure) MUCH to think about here!

A friend of mine moved with her husband a few years ago from a regular home to a condo and while their cleaning out wasn't as serious as yours, they "simplified, simplified, simplified!" Now, they don't bring anything new into their home without removing/giving away something in it, thus maintaining a balance of the "stuff" in their home and in their lives.

I'm thinking seriously of doing with my books (I don't have 5,000!) as you did with yours. I have so many books that just sit there on shelves and I'm sure they could be of use to others.

emma said...

I don't think it was actually directly to do with the scriptures (maybe partly subconsciously)-
but I feel desperate to get rid of stuff-
I definitely don't have much, but it's still way too much.
I live in an apartment the size of a single college dorm room.
I am starting with papers, magazines (I don't have many), and more recyclables- (it seems I am always getting rid of papers, but I keep ending up with piles)
I have started a bag of clothes to donate-
part of me just wants to get rid of EVERYTHING!!

it will be easier...

thanks for the inspiration...

Shannon said...

At the Word and Communion service at the county jail this weekend, this reading hit home with several of the men. "Fool! This night your life will be required of you!"

What happened to that case of beer you were saving for the party on the weekend? Gone.

What happened to your car? Gone.

What happened to your apartment? Gone.

What happened to your connections? Gone.

And your friends? Gone.

I'm struck by how many people have experienced that GONE feeling as they have lost their jobs, their homes, their cars, their standing in the community...

As Richard Rohr is fond of saying, "Our little worlds are always coming to an end."

Anonymous said...

My mother often said, "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without."

Ruthie

Joan Bregy said...

I work with inmates at MCI. We think they have lost ALL and, in today's thinking, we are right. However, they have not lost their 'masks' ... the masks of anger, inflated ego, victim, bully, fear-filled, leader, follower, the jealous one, obsession with guilt, obsession with innocence ... and the list goes on and on. The list includes all of us. Are we prisoners of our 'false selves' or are we able to reveal the authentic face reflected in Christ? How hard the latter is and how 'full' our 'barn' is even without possessions. Christ is calling us to empty something more than possessions and how hard that is. We need to call on Him for help for we cannot do it alone.
~ Joan