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An experiment in Half: Part 1 of 6

16Another day, a man stopped Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?" 17Jesus said, "Why do you question me about what's good? God is the One who is good. If you want to enter the life of God, just do what he tells you." 18-19The man asked, "What in particular?" Jesus said, "Don't murder, don't commit adultery, don't steal, don't lie, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as you do yourself."
Don’t murder. Check.
Don’t commit adultery. Check.
Don’t steal. Check. Well unless you count making personal copies at work, or snagging Shaun’s last pair of clean socks…
Don’t lie. Uhm…..Not bold face ones at least. Telling the telemarketer that I’m not home, surely that doesn’t count.
Honor your father and mother. Much easier now that I don’t live at home.
Love your neighbor as you do yourself. Sure, as long as I can pick which neighbor. The friendly one who bakes bread and lends me eggs. Love love love. The crabby one who gives Owen dirty looks when he squeals with delight a little too loudly, well I’m cordial.

So if that if that is the test you have to “get eternal life”. Surely I pass. Maybe not with a 100%, but I figure I’m a solid B. And Bs are good enough. Right?

But, the story continues…
20The young man said, "I've done all that. What's left?" 21"If you want to give it all
you've got," Jesus replied, "go sell your possessions; give everything to the poor. All your wealth will then be in heaven. Then come follow me." 22That was the last thing the young man expected to hear. And so, crest-fallen, he walked away. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn't bear to let go. Matthew 19: 16-22

OK, this test I’m not so sure I’d pass. I’d like to think that if Jesus showed up, in the flesh and asked me to give up all my stuff. All my stuff, the junk, the treasures, my favorite stuff, the stuff that I forgot I even have and even they stuff I buy to put the other stuff in……that I’d tell him yes.
But I’m not so sure.
You see I have a lot of stuff. And I’m pretty fond of it. I know that God would surely provide. But I sleep better at night knowing that I ……. well that I actually have a bed to sleep in.

What if Jesus had asked that poor man to only give up half his stuff? I wonder if he still would have walked away. (Yes, I know that Jesus asks us to surrender everything, not half of everything…this is just an experiment…so bare with me).

So, inspired by this blog post wrecked , I decided to count my shoes. And whatever number I ended up with….I’d give away half.
So I did just that.
25 pairs.
And I am not particularly a shoe girl. I wouldn’t know a pair of Jimmy Choos if I tripped over them.
But 25 pairs is kind of sickening.
I could almost wear a different pair of shoes every single day of the month.
So I spread them out on my bedroom floor and started the weeding out process.
At first it was easy. I placed a broken pair of flip flops in the bag, an old pair of tennis shoes. The ones I keep in my car just in case. Another pair of flip flops that are uncomfortable. A brown pair that I swear I have had since college. And so on.
But after about 7 pairs I was stuck.
I liked or needed all the other pairs on the floor.
In the end I ended up giving away 2 pairs of shoes that I loved. Yes. I said loved about shoes.
The same word that I had a hard time saying about my neighbor.
Which is an ugly thing to learn about yourself.
That I can love a pair of cute black boots and a pair of red and gray North Face tennis shoes more than real live breathing neighbors. Even grouchy ones.

In the end, 13 pairs made it into the bag. Even though I had to cheat a little…counting a cob webby pair of rollerblades from the garage.
And this is just the beginning.
For the next six weeks, I am going to pick some possession ( clothes, books, food, whatever)…..and give away half.
And half is really hard.

Comments

Sarah said…
Thank you so much, Michelle, for the post and the link to wrecked. This goes along with a seed that planted itself at church during "Global Reach" day today. My thought process was just about how much I WASTE (time, $$, etc) and how those resources that I toss aside daily would/could revolutionize someones life! All that to say: I'm in.
Alyssa said…
WOW! I need to get busy taking stock and letting some of it go. Thanks for the challenge.
Katie Delp said…
Michelle, It's been a hundred years (well maybe closer to 10), but I peak at your blog occasionally and I always love your writing. Thanks for sharing the ways you see Jesus.

Katie Speer Delp
Margie said…
Wow. I am looking forward to reading more. I enjoyed reading the "wrecked" post, too. You've left me speechless.

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