Of Clutter and the Kingdom of Heaven

There is no doubt that we are a capitalist country (USA), in a consumerist culture.  We are constantly bombarded by ads that tell us we need this and that product.  We are then told that to be happy we need to have more.  And when more is not enough, we are told we need better stuff, and then when better isn’t enough, we need more again, and then better and so on and so forth.  Next thing you know, we need storage spaces outside of our houses, because we have outgrown our homes, so we get a storage space.  (Did you know that storage space companies are well and thriving? I’m sure you did.)  Then we think that we have too much stuff because not only have we outgrown our houses but they are overflowing with stuff and clutter, so we hire organizers to help us with parting ways with the stuff we don’t really love, need, or no longer serves us.  (Or we buy books on how to get rid of clutter, either way, I am sure you get my point.)

But, is this really the way Jesus called us to live?  Does Jesus really want us to live in cluttered homes, in a never-ending circle of unhappiness and stuff?  Didn’t He say at some point (and someone please help me with the exact Bible verse) to give up all earthly riches in order to enter the Kingdom of God?  Aren’t we called to be humble?

I am speculating, because I couldn’t find any studies to back this up, but America has to be one of the most cluttered countries.  We are also a self-proclaimed Christian nation.  If this is the case, if we are Christian, then why are we so obsessed with acquiring stuff?  With flaunting what we have (and what we have thanks to debt)?  With impressing our neighbor?  With keeping up with the Joneses?

When did the devil get a chance to ingrain himself in society to such a degree?  That we see it normal and a blessing to be overflowing in things that in the end are nothing but vanities?  When did we, as a Christian nation, put “stuff” first, even above God?

I am trying not to judge, but how many people do you know who would rather go to the shopping mall for 4 hours to spend money acquiring things they don’t really need than to go to church?  How many people do you know would rather shorten Thanksgiving dinner or skip it all together so they can go get that fancy whatever-it-is-they-suddenly-decided-they-needed-thing on black Friday?  How many people are so in debt over stuff they really didn’t need?

Just some thoughts that came to my head as I was organizing my closet, and getting ready to donate clothes I no longer wear and stuff that I bought when I was feeling down and decided that “retail therapy” was the way to go.  (Yes, I am guilty of consumerism, too.)