Dealing with Belongings Left Behind

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We really don’t need many material things during our time on earth, but often we act as if we do! So, we accumulate stuff. My wife and I are the only two drivers in our family, but we have three vehicles. I have an attic full of accumulated stuff and a shed that is overflowing out back. Most people in the world get by with fewer possessions than do we. 

When death comes calling, we will all leave our stuff behind. I have more clothes than I can wear. I’ve been blessed by God to have lost sixty pounds and quite a few of my favorite clothes no longer fit, but my closet is still full. When my wife Jamie died in 2006, the hardest thing for me to do was to clean out her closet. I had to get my daughter to come and help me. I used to collect antiques; particularly old radios caught my eye. But there came a cleansing and I moved on to other interests. It was just stuff.

Why are THINGS not worth getting all upset about?

2 Peter 3:10 (ETRV) =  But the day when the Lord comes again will surprise everyone like the coming of a thief. The sky will disappear with a loud noise. Everything in the sky will be destroyed with fire. And the earth and everything in it will be burned up.

The Kingdom of Thingdom is of no lasting value. Everything I can hear, touch, taste, feel and smell is on the way out of this world. People are more important than things and always have been/will be!

So why is it so hard to turn loose of our stuff as well as the stuff that death causes us to leave behind?

1) Keeping our things can become an emotional decision. Particularly if the person who used to own those things has died. People tend to react at extremes when death has come calling. Some want to make the deceased one’s room, closet, or house into a shrine. Others launch a purge like hasn’t been seen since Noah’s flood, and everything must go.

2) In getting over a divorce, death or demotion, sooner or later we must get our focus on the future and not so much on the past.

I have never ridden on a motorcycle, so I don’t know much about that. One day I will, as soon as all the applications are in for the driver. But one thing I do know and have been assured of by those who train others to ride.  That is, that YOU WILL GO WHERE YOU ARE LOOKING! So keep your eyes off the ditch and the pothole and navigate a safe route where you are looking.

3) I can attest to the fact that it helps to have a family member or friend to help you in that closet purge to facilitate donations to a worthy cause, in preparing to move to a new location, or even when you are aghast at the prospect of ever dating again. 

Do you own your things or do your things own you?

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Doug Greenway

These blog articles are written by the retired minister and former educator and counselor, Doug Greenway. He'd love to hear from you with your comments, questions, or suggestions for future topics. You may reach Doug at

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