Part of missional frugality involves determining truly valuable items and focusing your spending there. The reason is simple – sometimes it is more of a burden than a blessing to own stuff.
As a reminder, today I want to put together a list of things we are often required to do with stuff. Some of these things require even more money. Some of these things require your time. Some of these things require your energy. Some of these things require your attention.
In the end, we must remember that owning stuff costs more than just money.
10 Responsibilities That Come with Owership
- You’ve got to protect it. I remember taking my truck to a Bible study once. I was visiting with some people across a river, and I didn’t want to risk driving the truck across. The family told me not to leave the truck because someone might vandalize it. I told them not to worry about it. Finally, they insisted on having someone sit with the truck to watch it. No matter what I said, they wouldn’t budge. I was sorry someone didn’t get to hear the Gospel because protecting my stuff was more important at that point.
- You’ve got to fix it. How many hours have each of us spent on the phone because something is broken down?
- You’ve got to shop for it. I’ve been shopping for a new computer over the last few months (remember the Mac or PC questions?). Since I’m using my computer even more these days, I thought it was important that I made a wise choice. So I spent hours reading reviews, searching for models, and trying to discover the best computer for my needs.
- You’ve got to clean it. Right now our family is in the Champions area of Houston. There are some rather large houses in this area. When I first came to this corner of Houston, I wondered what it would be like to live in one of those homes. Last week while we were driving in one such neighborhood, the only thing I could think about was, “how long would it take to clean one of those homes?”
- You’ve got to transport it. If you move, you’re either going to sell it or ship it. If you travel, you’re going to be forced to haul it with you. Our family arrived in Houston with five bags. I’m guessing that number will be closer to eight when we leave.
- You’ve got to figure it out. As a male, I’m embarrassed when I can’t turn on a TV and switch the channels by myself. So my choice is to remain ignorant or invest some time in learning how to use the latest technology.
- You’ve got to manage it. Who wants to have money just sitting in the bank? So then you decide that you should invest it. Where to invest it? How to invest it? Hours later, you may finally be getting an idea of the best ways to manage your investments and the best places to invest your money.
- You get to give it. While this is obviously a blessing, it is also an added responsibility. When someone asks for money, you must discern if this is the best use of those funds. When you are looking for charities to help, you must invest the time necessary to do the appropriate research.
- You’ve got to coordinate it. I’ve always found this a really hard thing to do. It’s a good thing I’m married. I’ve officially been banned from getting our kids dressed by myself because it seems that black and brown must not go together. Flowers and stripes don’t belong together. When you own stuff, you’d better be sure it can visually coexist with other things.
- You’ve got to be accountable for your decisions. Where much is given much will be expected.
The point is not that owning stuff is evil. The point is that when you buy things you need to accept the fact that you may be buying something that could require more of your money, time, energy and attention. This is especially true if you buy stuff while in debt. Take the burden and triple it when you are in debt.
Jesus warns us of this danger:
Mark 4:18–19 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.
Sometimes you save a lot more than money when you say no. You save time and energy, and you get to focus on other things.