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Tangled Up In A Mess

Do you know what one of the fastest growing industries in North America is over the last 15 years? Grossing more than 22 billion dollars in 2005 in the U.S., and boasting of millions of square feet of building space, the "storage locker industry" has benefited from our consumer driven economy.

Over the last 35 years rental facilities have sprung up in large numbers with storage units of all sizes. Even though the average size of a new home in the last 15 years has increased, it appears we still need more space.

Another aspect of the storage industry that has taken off of late is the personal warehouse that can be erected all by yourself in your own back yard over the span of just one weekend. Prefab buildings can be put together like a giant puzzle by any amateur builder, or so they say.

Just imagine, you can have your own personal warehouse. I can see it now. Your computerís data base is full of all your stored stuff and is linked to a robot in your warehouse that takes this stuff from a shelf at your request. The robot places these things on a conveyer system and shoots your request through an underground tunnel into your basement. Now that sure beats digging around your basement every Christmas, trying to figure out where you put the Christmas tree and all the boxes of decorations.

I donít think itís any secret that the pursuit of affluence and abundance in western society is growing at a feverish pace. The accumulation of wealth gives birth to the craving to possess even more than we presently have.

A feeling of freedom sweeps over us as we clear out our homes and put our excess into a rented storage locker. This feeling of freedom is soon replaced by a heavy weight as the new found empty space is once again filled with new things. Thatís why Iím beginning to feel a little reluctant about getting rid of my stuff because if I do, itíll only be replaced by someoneís elseís stuff.

Do you know what Heb. 12:1 says? The NIV reads, "Ölet us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles Ö " The KJV reads , "let us lay aside every weight and the sin that does so easily beset usÖ" For once I like the KJV with its use of the word "weight".

So whatís a weight? In context the writer is comparing our Christian life to a race. If we want to finish the race, we certainly donít run wearing winter coats and boots.

A weight is anything that burdens us down and prohibits us from "running the race" successfully. These burdensome weights can be physical Ė maybe smoking or eating too much. They can be emotional Ė maybe undue negativity. They can also be material Ė as in too much stuff.

Have you ever noticed the cause of much of our stress in daily life is from the things we possess? The car has a strange noise. I wonder how much that will cost? A fuse just blew because we had the microwave, toaster oven, hot plate, coffee machine, and kitchen stereo on all at the same time. The internet is slow because everyone in the house is downloading massive files at the same time. We spend a lot of time, money and energy maintaining the things we possess and just as much time, money and energy shopping for more.

With this in mind do you think itís at all interesting that the words "weight" and "sin" are associated with each other in the same sentence? Both sin and weights hinder us from being productive in Godís Kingdom.

Thereís another interesting word that the NIV uses in this verse and itís the word "entangled". Iíve got this 100 foot extension cord that I put away nice and neat every time I use it, but for the life of me, I canít figure out why itís all tangled up the next time I reach for it. It takes forever to work out the knots and sometimes the end of the cord flies back and hits me in the face. Beside hurting, I find this very irritating, but this is what being entangled is all about. Itís being caught up in a mess which hinders us from doing the task at hand. A tangled extension cord does not allow me to cut the lawn until I spend the 15 minutes untangling the cord.

Could it be possible that we are tangled up in a mess of abundance, and thatís why weíre not as effective for Jesus as we wish we were. Iím talking on a personal level here, but the same could apply to church life as well.

This is just something to think about. I like my things as much as the next guy. You can consider what I say and the Lord give you the understanding in all things.

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