This past weekend my wife and I, put on a garage sale (well, it was more of a driveway sale, but that’s beside the point). Lauren worked her tail off all week to sort, price, and organize everything that we would sell and I basically was her work horse moving what she wanted where she wanted it. She asked me to go through my entire closet and pick out clothes that I no longer wear or have need of which is a form of torture for me so I politely passed the buck by saying, “I trust you.” That was her green light to get after it. I’ve been so pre-occupied with writing and recording for a new project (more on that coming soon!) and finishing up a couple of online college classes that I was glad to have her sort for me.
Fast forward to day two of the sale. It was pretty slow on Saturday morning so Lauren asked if I wouldn’t mind sitting out in the garage where I could work on my paper and keep an eye on the sale (AKA make sure people don’t steal stuff) while she, my mom, and our boys went out and did some shopping. Side note, it is the weirdest thing selling your stuff as you leave the house to go buy more stuff. Just saying.
While I was typing away on my computer, a family showed up and began to look through some of my clothes. As they unfolded them to get a good look at them, I started feeling, well, weird. It was disheveling seeing a stranger hold up MY clothes to see if they might fit his taste and his dashing figure (see what I did there). Honestly it was weird because I still felt a since of ownership with those clothes. I mean those pants and I have been through a lot together. I slightly felt entitled to them. Even if I hadn’t worn them in over a year, they were after all, you know, mine. To give up a pair of my pants for $2, two t-shirts for $0.75, and two dress shirts for a buck a piece felt wrong. And to top it all off, the lady handed me a $5 bill instead of paying the $5.50 I was due assuming I would just take the $5 and not worry about my two quarters. Sheesh. I’m not bitter though.
I jokingly say all of this because I think that we look at many pieces of clothing in our life as things we are entitled to and to give them up for next to nothing makes us feel jaded. Pastor, perhaps you feel entitled to your church. Lay minister, perhaps you feel entitled to your program. Maybe you have worked hard at your career for years, and if you’re being honest, your business card that has your title and position written on it is a huge part of your identity’s makeup.
In some ways, we need to look at our careers, titles, ministries, positions, and possessions as a t-shirt. There is a “time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away” (Ecclesiastes 3:6). Yes. Please put on your “shirt” and wear it gladly and humbly, but remember, you are as entitled to your shirt as I am to the $.75 cents I got for mine.
The truth is, there is a greater identity to be had -one that will not be stripped away. An identity that has been purchased for you and is being eternally kept in heaven for you.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. – 1 Peter 1:3-5