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Downsizing Decisions

Love Gives
/ Part
February 11, 2022
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Pastor Mike Hintz and Andrew Hunt prepared an excellent podcast to accompany this guide. You can listen to it at this link.

Challenge Follow-up

Were there any revelations as you looked at your credit card bills or bank statements? Are you spending what you thought you were spending on certain categories?


Like many folks approaching their later years, my parents downsized some time ago. I helped them move from a modest house into an apartment. They spent time selling or giving away furniture and deciding what was important enough to keep.

I noticed that they did not sit down and decide which things to keep based on monetary value. Otherwise they would have ended up with a lot of fine china, but very little ordinary dishware. Yet they needed the dishware and could do without the rarely used china. Photo albums, small items from the mission field, and gifts from children or each other, all made the cut. They also kept thousands of books even though they didn’t have room for them. They love reading and studying and their personal library is large. I begged them to downsize the books because I had to carry most of the boxes, but they wouldn't hear of it. Those books were a part of them. They represented a lifetime of studying the Word of God.

It made me think, if I were to downsize, what items are so important to me I couldn’t let them go even if it made sense to do so? What “stuff” in my life carries meaning? What is the gold and what is the rubble?

Jesus said in Matthew 6:19-21:

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

This is both a command and a principle. We can see what we actually value by what we invest in. It's interesting as we head into our later years how this becomes so obvious to us. Give a retired grandma the resources to travel anywhere in the world and she will probably visit each of her children and grandchildren instead. Does it take the wisdom of age to teach us that "stuff" is trivial and our longings for it petty? What we really need is to learn this lesson early in life - while we are still striving for progress. 

This series has a simple purpose. We want to re-examine what we value. We want to challenge ourselves to invest our time and yes our money into the kingdom of God - where it matters.

How about it? What do you value? What is most important to you? It's actually not an easy question, but the basic metric is time and money. Whether on earth or in heaven we are storing up treasure. Examining the naked truth of where we put our time and money will tell us the status of our heart.

Discussion Questions

  1. What's the distance between where you want your heart to be and where it is? Share what the Holy Spirit is speaking to you.
  2. What does it mean to you to "store up treasures in heaven"? Are there specific actions or decisions you make where you are considering eternal values? 
  3. What are other indicators besides money that show what we value? 

The Challenge

This challenge is a bit more involved than usual.  It’s hard and will probably poke at you - I know it poked me! But if you decide to meet it, you may discover some things about what you truly value. Here it is.

Examine  a few bank statements or credit card statements - the podcasts suggests 3 month's worth. What does your expenses tell you about your heart? Among my priorities, I apparently value golf and dining out. :) Take out the rent or mortgage, groceries, utilities and other "necessities" and take a good look at the remainder. Does it say anything about what you value?  Is it an indicator of where your heart is?

Now let's try the same thing with our time. Examine your evenings and weekends. Review the past 7 days. What did you spend time doing? Was every evening spent catching up on your shows? Did you spend time investing in others? This is not a guilt thing - it's just a way of gaining insight into the question, "what do I value?"  

Finally a note of grace. You may be swamped, exhausted and strapped for cash. Peace! Some seasons of life are just tough - and God carries us through. Just know that His blessings are around the corner if you trust Him.

In the coming weeks we will be urging you to  come to grips with God's economy. God is faithful and there is a rule of returns with Him that never ever fails. If you give even a trickle to Him, you can expect a fire-hose in return.  We hope, if you are not convinced already, that you will test the waters and see what God will do!

Downsizing Decisions