Singing a praise chorus in church one morning, I was struck by the words “You are my everything.” It hit me, almost physically: Wait. If He is our everything, why do we have so much stuff? If God is supposed to be our all in all (having noticed it once, I began to notice it everywhere; how often we sing the idea of God being “our all” and “our everything”), why are we so inundated with things, drowning in our clutter? It makes no sense. I was struck by the almost hypocrisy of singing the words, knowing how abundantly we were blessed with material goods. Is he really my everything? How much do I need to get rid of before he actually becomes that, in truth?
Think about the things we need to survive. We absolutely need food, and we do need pots and pans to cook it in, dishes and glasses to eat and drink off of. Now think about how full our kitchens are of specialty equipment, designed to make our lives easier and do all the hard work for us. Gadgets and gizmos which once looked like a great idea; now jammed in our drawers and cabinets, broken or breaking other items as we try to stuff one more thing in amongst the crowd. The I can’t get rid of this, I paid good money for it, I might use it someday stuff that makes it hard to close the pantry door. Or—the saddest kind of clutter—the we’re saving that for a special occasion stuff. I don’t necessarily mean the Christmas china that comes out seasonally, each year being used for its special, appropriate time. I mean the china that doesn’t ever come out, the kind that’s “too.” Too fragile, too antique, too special, too important—it’s a family heirloom! That was my grandmother’s! So it never gets used, ever, and instead sits in storage until the day you die, at which point your children (thankfully?) will have no memory of it and will be able to part with it much more easily. Unless, of course, it’s completely ruined from being stored in a hot, dusty attic or a cold, damp, musty basement.
If God is our everything, why do we have those kinds of items overtaking our homes?
Jesus warns us about this idea in his parable of the rich fool. Luke 12:16-21 states, “And he told them this parable: ‘The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
‘Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink, and be merry.’
‘But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
‘This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.’”
Is God truly my everything?