This past year I have acquired a bunch of T-shirts. As I described in a previous blog, Tracy and I have been running races in our attempts to stay healthy. As a part of signing up for these races, you can get a T-shirt for a minimum amount of money and/or free. I am addicted to getting these shirts. I wear them with pride and they remind me of the work I did training to run that race. The problem is that I had a plethora of old T-shirts before starting my running career. Tracy tries to shame me by pointing out the amount of old "holey" (not holy) T-shirts I own. (Personally, I feel that I am just breaking in those shirts).
Tracy wants me to get rid of a few T-shirts. My closet is overflowing; and before I bring home more T-shirts, I need to make room. I really don't want to get rid of any of the shirts. Each shirt has memories attached to them. I look at my concert T-shirts and recall the fun time I had attending those concerts. I look at my tourist T-shirts and remember the trips I took when they were purchased. I look at my coaching T-shirts and remember my boys and the team of boys I coached. Some could argue that my old T-shirts are my scrapbooks of my life.
Unfortunately, my youngest is developing my collecting skills. His collection of choice is stuffed animals. That child can talk anybody into buying him a stuffed animal. I admit to having fallen victim to his puppy dog eyes holding a five dollar animal. Tracy is blown away by the sheer amount of animals stacked in a corner of his room. She is further exasperated by the child when she tries to get him to pare down his collection. He, too, does not want to rid himself of the comfort the stuffed animals give him. Even the ones we see laying on his floor for months seem to develop an attachment to him as it hovers the garbage bag.
In spiritual life, we are often asked to leave behind old habits and sins for Christ. In the Bible, there are stories of men leaving behind families and jobs to follow Christ. One of the more profound lessons in the Bible is when a rich man realizes that he cannot bring himself to leave behind his riches to follow Christ and walks away saddened by this realization. Like T-shirts and stuffed animals, our old ways of doing things are comfortable and safe. Our habits, although sinful, are old friends that help us through the day. They are safe because they are known to us. Christ calls us to rid our old selves in favor of a new creation under him.
As incentive to getting rid of T-shirts and stuffed animals, Tracy tries to entice us with the promise of new T-shirts and new stuffed animals. (It really hasn't seemed to work on us yet.) But, Christ promises us that leaving behind our old ways of doing things and following him we gain everlasting life. That is an impressive incentive to follow our Lord. Join me in ridding the old things in our lives that just clutters our thinking. Trust that Christ has a plan and it is better than what we are hanging on to. Let's shun our typical "that's how we've always done things" thinking and embrace being open to the spirit leading us.