Nothing Sacred

The wear and tear on our house was one thing I never considered when we first began to homeschool. Because we lived at home 24 hours a day, everything from the plumbing to the carpet took an extra beating. My husband regularly came home from work and found a frustrated wife with a request to fix another worn out or broken "whatever" in our house. After several years of homeschooling, we both came to the realization that our dream for a showcase house was simply not going to happen.

As Christians, we forget that our possessions are given to us by God. He makes us stewards of houses, cars, and things to accomplish His will, not just to look good. The rich, young ruler couldn't grasp that fact and loved his possessions too much to follow Christ. In 1 Timothy 6:18, the apostle Paul exhorts those who are rich in this world to be generous, ready to share, and rich in good works. Like the story of the widow and her two small coins (Luke 21:1-4), even the poor have something they can sacrifice to further the kingdom of God.

Do you have possessions and belongings that are sacred to you — things you would never consider giving up for the cause of Christ? Ironically, the things we hold on to so tightly are the very things that begin to possess and hang on to us. You may think you've earned them or have a right to them, but your possessions really belong to God. Will you use them today for His glory instead of your own? "Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth" (Luke 12:33).

Lord, my very life is Yours. Everything I am and everything I have belongs to You. Use me and what You've given me to be a blessing to others. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Comments(18 comments)

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AMY S 03/03/2009 08:41:28

Thank you for this, it was very timely for me. My husband and I have four children, and we have been working hard towards having nicer things, but God has been working on my heart in how I view "stuff". Yesterday, after praying again that God would help me to be content in all circumstances, we were attacked by a family member because our house did not meet her standards. I have really been struggling with her accusations, and your article was right on. Our home might not be the prettiest, but hopefully anyone that truly knows us will know that we value God and people more than anything we might have or not have. Thank you again for the encouragement!

KATHERINE M 03/03/2010 08:49:37

While I appreciate your article, I couldn't disagree more. I have homeschooled our children for twelve years now, and we have had to teach stewardship of possessions, cleanliness, and organizational skills right along with Math and English, etc. While our home does get a lot more "use" than families who do not have little ones in the home all day, our home is in as good condition as the day we bought it. Is the issue whether or not we put too much emphasis on material things, or whether our children are being taught stewardship of the things God has blessed us with and respect for the things we have had to work hard to purchase? I for one, am frankly tired of the reputation (which in many cases is well-deserved) homeschool families have earned for their messy and undisciplined lives. Many times children are not clean, well-mannered, or socially aware. Homes are disheveled and filthy, and their big excuse is that they homeschool! What a poor representation of the faith! No more excuses! Start teaching your kids to take care of what you own and to be better stewards of what God has blessed them with! Who says your home has to be the prettiest? But it can be the cleanest and the most organized, and your children could be learning valuable life skills in the process. That would be a positive example to your friends and family who stop by and a positive witness for Christ. I can't count how many non-homeschoolers have brought these facts to my attention as they observe different families and wondered why homeschool families feel that because they homeschool, their kdis are allowed to live the way in which they do. Point well taken!

CHRISTINA L 03/03/2010 11:40:23

Ouch! I see both sides and, in my opinion there has to be a good medium. Right now, I have my 13 year old and 5 year old cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms. I do feel that I must represent Christ in some way by the way my home is operated and managed. I am living in my home more than a lot of people, so their is more to do than someone who barely stays at home at all. I work all day! If my home isn't completely orderly, what will that mean 100 years from now?

ELIZABETH J 03/03/2010 15:20:10

We just realized this year that what God really wanted for our family was for my children to be homeschooled. So I signed them out I had 1 in pre-K, 1 in 1st grade, and a 3rd grader. The only difference I have seen in my home is that our utitlity bills have sky-rocketed. This year with having all 4 of my children home the lights are always on in every room and I find that I vacuum more, cook more, and run the dishwasher at least twice a day!!! My kids do not start book work unitl they are bathed, there beds are made and the house is clean! They have learned that when they get the chores finished early they can get started on their homework and aren't spendiing half the evening studying spelling words. The main thing for us is that they know what I expect, and that motivates them because they also know that I don't care to have them doing homework right up until supper time if they ho-hum around on their chores. Homeschooling is a huge resposibiblity and I don't think it all should fall in my lap, they have to help me.

BETH K 03/03/2011 06:28:35

There is definitely value in order and cleanliness. We want to be good stewards of what God has given us, and our desire is to use them for ministry, not only for homeschooling, but to welcome others into a clean and orderly house. I think what the original devotion writer was referring to was not \"letting things go\", but rather the wear and tear. For example, my painted baseboards just get scuffed more quickly with my kids at home. We are vacuuming more, and kids have a hard time handling a big vacuum and bump the baseboards more quickly. My carpets are more worn from heavy traffic than if we were all at work or school during the day. This is not from poor stewardship, it is just from use. We can\'t replace our carpets any more frequently, so no, our house does not look as good as the day we bought it. It is clean and orderly, but well used for His service, and for His glory.

SHARON C 03/03/2011 06:44:13

I don\'t think it was as much about how well-kept our stuff is, as much as it is about how much we value it to the point of it getting in the way of what we need to truly be focusing our energy on. Yes! We need to be good stewards of what God has given us, but we also need to not spend so much energy pining after that newer, nicer thing that we think we need, or are even willing to admit we just want. We need to have a clear understanding that everything we own and everything we ARE belongs to GOD - wouldn\'t that, alone, make you want to keep things in good order and well cared for? I, for one, needed this reminder today, as we stand to lose everything soon, if my husband does not find a second or a better job SOON!! Please PRAY for us! Not only that he find the job, but also that we have faith to hold on to God if we don\'t receive that type of blessing, but instead walk through a valley of loss for a while, so that we can learn a new value system. I\'m grateful that we serve a God who works with us on our character flaws and helps us grow in just the ways that HE sees we need to.

HOLLIE H 03/03/2011 06:50:46

It is difficult to give up the vision of a picture perfect home. As homeschool families we actually live in our homes - we don\'t just retreat to them after a long work/school day. If we allow our children imaginative free play time and opportunities to experience hands on projects it gets messy. Good! That means that they aren\'t stuck in a hard little chair all day having their natural creativity and enthusiasm for life sucked out of them. A sign in our kitchen reads, \"Please excuse our messy house, The children are making memories.\" Yes, I wish our home was more organized and I so want it to appear that way. But please don\'t judge others who don\'t meet your housekeeping standards - and don\'t envy those who seem so much better at it than you. God has given all of us unique abilities and what is important to you may not be to someone else. We should not compare ourselves to each other. Instead, give all that God has especially given to you back to him - be it a clean orderly home or one that is bursting with the mess of childhood joy. Remember, the world looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. In this case, the heart of the home is what truly matters.

AMANDA W 03/03/2011 08:33:49

Amen! Hollie thank you for pointing out that a messy house is not always because of neglect or laziness. I am going all day and my house is still messy many times. I do thouroughly enjoy it when it is clean but that is not always feasible and I do not invite people over when it is completely in disarray. Some people are more gifted with the ability to be orderly and others aren\'t. I was raised to be responsible. My mother kept a spotless house and we were responsible for much of the upkeep and even the laundry. My sister and I shared a room. Her side was tidy and mine was cluttered. It drove my mother crazy! : ) Furthermore, I do agree that this post is more about not making your possesions idols. I think it bears reapeating from earlier, everything we are and have belongs to God! I like having nice things and I believe God wants to bless His children with nice things, but I should never be consumed with it. For the one who is potentailly in need with your house. If you can, sell it and buy something you can afford on one income. It will decrease the stress in your marriage and home. Trust God! My husband and I lost a home and it is a difficult thing to go through. I feel like it stripped the hide off of me! But I learned to rely on God more through it and it was a refining time for my faith. My husband talks about getting a second job but I would prefer to have him around more. : )

JACKIE B 03/03/2011 09:39:16

Hello Sharon C. I would like to pray for you personally, since we have been through this scenario more than once in the past 10 years. Please contact me on Facebook at Jackie Rodriguez-Betancourt and I will friend you so you can see my email address. To everyone else commenting and reading this, God sees each of our hearts individually and knows the condition of our expectations. He loves each of us and knows that He has given us our own unique gifts and talents. It is okay for us to have a spirit of \"excellence\" when it comes to taking care of what we have; as a matter of fact, we should have excellence in ALL we do for Him! Whether you strength is keeping organized, or maybe it\'s being creative with hands-on experiments (not mine, by the way), God sees our hearts and intentions in it all. I am a previous homeschooling parent and am praying that the Lord opens a door for us to homeschool once again.

LINDSEY G 03/03/2012 05:06:04

Everyone who knows me knows how much I want new couches! Our couches are misshapen, faded and a bit scratched-up by our beloved cat. But, so far, we just don\'t have the money to replace them. This morning, God led me to Haggai 1:9, \" \'You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?\' declares the Lord Almighty. \'Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house.\' \" He showed me that my #1 priority (and delight!) is to be building up the Body of Christ, instead of trying everything in my latest copy of Martha Stewart! Of course, I\'ll ask the Lord to meet our material needs according to His will. But my focus needs to be His Kingdom priorities: using my couches to read to my children and to show hospitality to a variety of people. If Jesus returned today, He\'d be pleased to sit on couches that are worn-down by love and hospitality more than couches whose purpose was to keep up with the \"Joneses.\". Homeschooling DOES take its toll on our homes, but let\'s pray for each other...that we can keep an eternal perspective in the midst of the daily grind. I\'m so grateful for all of you who are on this homeschooling journey with me. Blessings to all of you.

TRISHA E 03/03/2012 08:14:16

well said, thank you lindsey.

Carol W 03/03/2012 08:49:50

I am a mother of 9 and have home schooled for 20 years.This is one of the topics you could talk about ALL day, and still you have to decide what is best for you, your husband and children. Our God is a God of order, but he is also a God of LOVE. I too, teach my children that we are to be good stewards of the blessing that God has given us. And with much, much is required. NOT ALWAYS did our home look perfect, nor still with the children older. But, I always felt that I wanted the front room (main part of the house) to look inviting to someone if they should stop bye. I try not to beat myself or the kids for not having an AMAZING home. My home season is not NOW. I also know that resale shops and ebay are a great way to freshen up a house. Plus it never fails, as soon as you mop the floor something spills. We do this to maintain and to please God and our husband, but not to make it our KING. Before you know it grand kids are on there way. True BLESSINGS.

VANESSA W 03/03/2012 09:11:10

We are not here to impress people. We are here to do Gods will. I\'d give up everything to be debt free. Then we discovered Dave Ramsey. God is using Him to guide us. It would seem to me that if our homes were \"perfect\" that it would be a sign that our hearts are in the wrong place. Yes God is a God of organization but he isn\'t looking for the perfect house. If that were the case-the time would be taking from the kids. If we stop trying to keep up with the Joneses and concentrate on Gods will-we will all be better off for it.

COLLEEN P 03/03/2012 09:43:04

A Gem Of a DAY On Judgement Day,If God should Say.... \" Did you clean your house today?\' I will say, \" I did not, I played with my children and I forgot.\" Author Unknown

KAYLEEN S 03/03/2012 14:24:13

We are all uniquely gifted...some of us can\'t help but keep our house spotless. Some of us can\'t help having clutter. None of us should judge the other. TRuth is, whatever you\'re good at, it\'s a gift from God....\"so that none can boast\". I have to admit that one of my greatest temptations to put my kids back in public school was because I have difficulty keeping my home perfect; before homeschooling, this was not an issue and quite frankly it drives me nuts when things are out of place. But, God has used this circumstance to make me into a better parent by teaching ME to teach THEM and having realistic, loving expectations for them. Also, I\'ve been \"blessed\" to experience some health issues that have limited my ability to maintain my previous level of see it really is all a gift from God, and we go through seasons of blessing and season of wanting. Blessed be the name of the Lord and thanks to His GRACE that brings us through another day, and that he still uses us even though we are not perfect, and in fact prefers us this way so that we remember we can not make it through this life, except through Him....I could go on and on :).

LIZ HOLLOWAY 03/03/2013 13:54:09

This is perfect for my week! I just bought my first dining rooms set at 40 years of age with five children 9, 7 5, 5, and 2. YOu can imagine the horror when I heard a metal decorative object being struck against the new table to achieve a bell sound. I couldn't believe it. We had just studied sound in our Switched on Schoolhouse, and my son simply said the bell ringer dindn't work unless he hit it on something. After much deliberation, and a time out for me to cool down, I calmly explained to him that metal bends and breaks wood and loud sounds are for outdoors. Had I not listened to the Spirit reminding me that my stuff is not as important as demonstrating the love of Christ to my children and teaching my children, I would have acted like a child. His ipod gone for a week and unloading dishes was his only assignment for the week to remind him to respect our things. I never did look for a Bible verse to share with him about taking care of our things....I'll go look now!

LILLY SWEENEY 03/03/2013 19:22:50

@Liz, I enjoyed reading your story about the new table. I've lived so many of these simular type stories with our three. The two youngest homeschooled, but all three have contributed equally to destructionin the home and to things. I've gone so far as to walk down an isle of ice cream treats with all three then over to the cleaning supplies to purchase the carpet cleaner rather than the yummy ice cream. My lesson was that we need to keep our things clean and as kept up as we are capable. If we made the decision to write on the floor with a marker we were going to have spend our resouces cleaning it and miss the opportunity to spend it on something we would have rather had. It was a lesson well taken as we never had marker on the carpet again and everyone was able to talk about how much better ice cream would have been than that old carpet cleaner. We don't go crazy with housekeeping, but we do try very hard to make teaching moments out of these types of errors. Glad to be able to homeschool!

mary johnson 03/03/2015 14:08:46

If I live in a house of spotless beauty with everything in its place, but have not love-I am a house keeper, not a homemaker If I have time for waxing, polishing, and decorative achievements, but have not love- my children learn of cleanliness, not godliness Love leaves the dust in search of a child's laugh Love smiles at the tiny fingerprints on a newly cleaned window Love wipes away the tears before it wipes up the spilled milk Love picks up the child before it picks up the toys Love is present through trials Love reprimands, reproves, and is responsive As a MOTHER , there is much I must teach my child, but the greatest of all is LOVE...... Just thought that everyone could benefit from this..was a poem I had pinned on my refrigerator to remind me daily (an sometimes hourly, who am I kidding by the minute) especially with a house full of homeschoolers that no matter what all these things too shall past but LOVE will always be there.....with GOD all things are possible and that we are to live to glorify HIM and HIM alone....God Bless and what ever your circumstances may be LOVE................ P.S. Got this poem from a website with no name but it hit home..............

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