The message was meant for me. I knew it. I cried for mercy as it replayed in my mind again and again. “Our God is saying, ‘Why do you hide among the stuff while my harvest field is neglected?'” The minister thundered not once but three times. For days it tormented me. God wanted to change me, but I wasn’t sure where to begin.

Finally I went to my Bible and searched for the word “stuff”. 1 Samuel 10:22 in the King James Version tells the story of young Saul, Israel’s first king. He hid among the stuff rather than take his place as the nation’s leader. I preferred to hide among my possessions rather than take my place in God’s harvest field, so I searched the scriptures to see what they said about possessions, and I found many references. My favorite is 1 Peter 2:11. Peter begged God’s people, “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.”

I had to admit I had become a stuff addict. Every shopping trip I took I came home with something for myself whether I needed it or not. But nothing satisfied for long. Soon I needed another fix. Then I had to worry about caring for my treasures. Life for me had become “vanity and vexation of the spirit.” (Ecclesiastes 2;26) Like Christian in PILGRIMS PROGRESS I was groveling around in the mire, trying to satisfy my emptiness with stuff, when the Lord was calling me to Himself. He longed to fill that craving and make me a vessel of honor to be used in His Kingdom. I pleaded, “How can I be free?” He said, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” (Matthew 19:21). Fortunately Emory shared my burden, so we began to clean house. Little by little we sold or gave away everything that we did not need. Was it difficult.? Yes, but the freedom was glorious. Now we keep our lives simple and uncluttered, and the money we save we pass on to ministries or the needy.

God blessed us to have a children’s ministry for thirty years that touched the lives of hundreds of kids. Now, in our twilight years, we have the ministry of intercessory prayer and writing to encourage others.

Do we ever struggle? Sometimes, but knowing we are pleasing the Lord and being a good example when we obey Him gets us back on track.

We know where our heart is by what we spend our time and money on. So, dear pilgrim, are you hiding among your stuff?a

—- Rebecca Somoskey