The Theology of Stuff

On Monday I sold my pickup truck. Now my daughter is upset because she really loved that truck. And in some way, I grieve a bit because I really liked my truck too. But it was time to move on.truck

The truck was actually a blessing when we bought it from our friends and neighbors. It was during a dark time in our lives. My wife’s “aunt” died and so we needed to empty her apartment. My mom fell, had a hip replacement, and we came to the realization that she could not live on her own anymore. So I had to empty her apartment and move her into a nursing home. And we still had a house that needed to be fixed up and sold. Having a pick up was a great help.

But its time had come. It was no longer beneficial to keep, and so we put it up for sale. And this got me thinking about how we view “stuff”. Often things are very expendable in this country. We think little about throwing something away and replacing it with the newest version. But that is not my upbringing. I grew up in a household that could not afford new things. Early on I learned how to repair small appliances and do plumbing work because we could not afford repairmen. I did basic car maintenance, painting, paneling and carpet laying. For me, repairing old came long before buying new.

And in addition, when something’s “time has come”, I appreciate the blessing that it was. Whether an old car or truck, or piece of furniture or appliance, I am thankful for its service to our family. That attitude is completely different from the general throw away culture in which we live. And my attitude comes from my relationship with God. Just as I believe that the old snow blower can be repaired, God believes that I can be repaired. Just as I am willing to work on the old dryer, God is willing to work on me. And when it is time to replace the dryer, I will thank God for the old one – kind of like I hope to hear God say to me “well done good and faithful servant” when my time here comes to completion.

So the next time you get rid of something, consider its value. Consider what it meant to you. And give God thanks.