“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” – Mark 10:25

lonely-raider-1402775Lots of ways to interpret the above passage in the bible, which is offered as a quote by Jesus. For me, it is simply that an obsession with the objects around us in this world distracts us from finding a greater source of happiness present within us. Being rich is not a sin, but not actively giving of yourself and using your resources to help others is a form of purgatory.

My wife and I finally finished cleaning out our house. We went through every closet, cupboard, eave, attic and corner in both the basement and garage. We pulled everything out, cleaned it, and put back only the things we “need” or love. This has taken two months and as I described in an earlier post, has been both spiritually cleansing and a source of shame that we had accumulated so much stuff that was unhelpful to us.

The number of trips to the town dump has been numbing. We’ve made about a half dozen large donations of clothing to goodwill. We took many usable items to the “take and leave” area where individuals in need can pick them up for free. Crates of books (a personal weakness) were dropped off at the book swap. We tried to recycle as much as we could, but the amount simply going into the compacter was still staggering.

Where does this leave us? Liberated is one feeling. We can find the things we truly need much easier. A calmer feeling now exists in the house, although I’ll confess I still get grumpy when my daughters leave their toys out. Determined is another feeling. Determined not to willfully bring unnecessary objects into our lives. Put differently, intention to remain focused on what is important.

It was with some surprise and amusement that I listened today to our minister preach on the lesson to the rich man in the gospel of Mark. Perhaps it was a not-so-subtle reminder that we still have work to do. We cannot sit back now and passively enjoy the new found space within our home. All we have done is removed distractions. The hard work of seeking truth and actively helping others remains in front of us.

I may still be a camel, but perhaps I only have one hump now.