Too Much Stuff In My Hands

Every hand was full.

I’m not talking about my own hands. I looked around the airport and starting searching for hands that had nothing in them. There were entire families with not a single hand free. The kids toted miniature suitcases on rollers and sippy cups. Or they wore small backpacks but clung to a favorite stuffed animal with both hands. They’d made it through security and no one was going to tear their well-loved buddies from them again for a long time.

Moms had the overflow of the kids’ stuff: everything they’d pulled out of their bags while trying to entertain themselves or those items the kids needed to keep in sight for comfort but couldn’t carry. Of course, moms also had their own purses and carry-on luggage. Those who could juggle also firmly grasped a favorite Starbucks drink.

And then there were the dads. In some cases, they were nearly imperceptibly human. A variety of bags hung from every available limb. Often times, hands clung to two bags at once, pulling fingers in contorted directions. One dad had looped his arms through the luggage handles, so he could carry the entire family’s lunch, including a full drink tray.

The Styx song, Too Much Time on My Hands, played in my head as I watched people loaded down with stuff. I  slightly adjusted the lyrics. People getting off planes were juggling stuff. People getting onto planes were juggling stuff. There were those, who likely travel often, who didn’t have much luggage but still had a coffee cup in one hand and a phone, e-reader or other device in the other. I felt crowded, and I realized it wasn’t because of the people swarming around me. It was the vast amount of stuff!

I have too much stuff. I’ll admit it. I’m no hoarder. I don’t have everything I could ever want, but I have too much. How do I know?

Because I have plenty. My guess is you have plenty, too.

Plenty is more than enough. So today, I’m challenging you (and myself) to share. It will be a double blessing. Sharing will bless someone else in need (or perhaps want). Sharing will bless you, because it will lift a burden. You can’t possibly hold everything you have in your hands anyway. Why juggle and potentially drop it? Just go ahead and share it now. Be intentional. You don’t have to wait until something is outdated, half-broken, or forgotten. Hand it off to someone.

Share your plenty.

You had plenty of everything, but you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and a pure heart. (Deuteronomy 28:47)

Out of Gas

I was taught to never let my gas tank get lower than the quarter tank mark. My dad preferred to have a half tank “just in case,” but he was adamant about the quarter tank. I’ve lived my life by that standard – until I got a vehicle with a warning system. A light comes on when my fuel is getting low and flashes when I need to get gas within the next several miles.

The light has rarely come on – probably because of my dad’s firm instructions – but I’ve relied on the warning light several times, particularly when gas prices flunctuate. If I know I’ll soon be somewhere with consistently lower gas prices, I’ll intentionally let the fuel level get low so I can pack as much cheap(er) gas in the tank as possible.

That was the situation when my daughter and I went to a nearby city to shop. The indicator light came on, and I pressed my odometer trip setting to begin measuring how many miles I could continue. The light wasn’t flashing yet; I could easily get to our next planned stop, which would be even closer to home. So, I rationalized, the “cheap” gas would take me farther.

But while cruising on the interstate at 65 mph, the van died. I steered it to a safe location and got help…and learned some things in the process.

How close to empty are you willing to go?

Do your actions match your standards, or do you behave in a way that’s inconsistent to the standards you’ve been taught or that you teach others?

Of course, I’m not talking about the fuel level in your vehicle. I’m referring to your spiritual fuel.

How are you spiritually living? Where would your spiritual fuel gauge indicate you are right now? How often do you add fuel? What level of fuel do you consistently maintain?

God doesn’t want you to have “just enough.”

God doesn’t want you to try to stretch what you have just a little bit farther.

God doesn’t want you to add only what you temporarily need.

In fact, God doesn’t want you to determine the level you need or want at all. He wants you to rely on him for what you need. He knows better than you, because he knows what’s ahead. You might think you know, but your indicator lights are likely inaccurate because you don’t have all the information. God wants you to rely on him for what you want, too. He wants to be the one you want. As you trust God to provide, you’ll embrace his will, and because you most want his will – one bit at a time – you yield your will to his.

When I rely on God, my standard for fuel is to always be full. When I rely on God, I’m only relying on his warning lights, which aren’t only to indicate “nearly empty” but also “not quite full.” And I don’t even need to watch the gas price wars to get the best deal! All I need to do is humbly submit to God, relying on him to provide and guide.

I might run out of gas but through no fault of God. When I’m fully relying on him, I know where I’m going and have whatever it takes to get there.

And I prefer the purposeful journey to sitting beside the road.

Christ’s love is greater than anyone can ever know, but I pray that you will be able to know that love. Then you can be filled with the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:19