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Dec 01 2009

A Pile of Shoes

Posted by Mugs @ 8:25 pm in Devotional

By Mugs Manry

“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.”

Acts 4:32 (NIV)

The sight of a large truck being loaded with household items will elicit the following prayer from me, “Lord, thank You that this truck is not parked at my house.” Our family has moved many times because of my husband’s military career. After each move, there is a tremendous push to put things away. Inevitably, I run out of energy and cannot face another decision on where something should go. Therefore, piles of items remain in various rooms to trip over or maneuver around as we settle into a new place.

One such pile was in the middle of my bedroom floor. It contained seventeen pairs of my husband’s shoes, boots, and sandals. I did not want to put his shoes away, but he could not put his shoes away since he was deployed to Iraq with an additional four pair of boots and one pair of running shoes

His shoes were a constant reminder of his absence and how desperately I wanted him to return safely so I could berate him in person about his extravagant number of shoes. I was unwilling to face the pile of shoes, because I could not face him being so far, far away. When I told my youngest son that Daddy was far, far away, he replied, “Zeke go far, far away!” I wished we could, but we could not.

My husband collects both shoes and coffee cups. My parents’ neighbor collected so much more. He moved out of his house after living there for 30 years, and his children discovered he owned thirty-two coats and three anvils. The children were unsuccessful in their attempt to convince their father that he did not need three anvils.

Watching the excess of unused items being removed from her neighbor’s house, Mom was inspired to clean out her basement and give away all the strange gifts she had received from me. I told her to donate it all, except for the saber. You never know when you might need a saber…probably as often as you need an anvil.

Mom planned to donate the gifts to the thrift store where she volunteers. All the money earned at the thrift store is used to send Bibles to countries around the world. Yet, donating these items was difficult for her, for she felt as if she was “giving away a small part of someone she loved.”

We all keep piles in our life that we are unwilling to face. The piles may be in our basements, in our cabinets, in our attics, or in our hearts. We must ask ourselves if we are holding onto these things for a useful purpose. Do these items inspire us to pray or give thanks? Do we truly need them to reinforce our memories and hopes? Can we give away something we value for someone we value more – our Savior Jesus Christ?

The Parable of the Rich Fool (Luke 12: 15-21) describes the imbalance of storing up for the future while not being rich toward God. When we trust God to provide for us in the future, we do not need to hold so tightly to what we have and are therefore freed to meet the needs of others in the present.

Dear Lord, You have provided for me abundantly and I have so many blessings in my life. Help me to understand the value of my possessions and awaken in me the awareness of other’s needs. Grant me the energy and the perseverance I need to transform my blessings into blessings for others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Application Steps:

Evaluate your belongings and locate items to give away or sell. Find someone in need and bless them. Sell items online or at a yard sale and donate the money to a ministry you feel prompted by God to support. Donate items to a thrift store in your area that supports the Lord’s work.

Reflections:

Do you need all of your possessions?

Does someone near you need assistance?

Can a church today have “no needy person among them”?

Power Verses:

Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV) “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Acts 4:34-35 (NIV) “There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.”

4 Responses to “A Pile of Shoes”

  1. Christine Martin says:

    This devotion really needs to be re-posted for the first of the year. A great start for a New Years resolution. A time to clean out closets and get rid of anything and everything we don’t need. How many things do we hang on to, just because we may be able to use it someday. Time to clean out the closets around here that is for sure. May have to post the verses around the house to help. Thanks Mugs for the reminder.

  2. Gina Greenman says:

    Love it Mugs, so true :)
    Happy New Year precious ones!

  3. Nessili says:

    So when’s the book coming out? I’d love a devotional written like this (though Dale never struck me as a shoe guy :)

  4. Mugs says:

    I have written 7 devotions so far. I’ll keep plugging along and hopefully one day a book will be possible.

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