[the 7 project] month three: possessions

7, jen hatmaker, mutiny against excess

Written by Dan King

Christ-follower. husband. father. author of the unlikely missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter. co-author of activist faith: from him and for him. director of family ministry at st. edward's episcopal church. president of fistbump media, llc.

May 4, 2012

[serialposts]Have you ever watched that TV show Hoarders? It’s crazy how out of control some of these people get with their stuff, huh?

It’s easy to see the problems when we look at the extreme examples like this. It’s kinda in your face when a person’s inability to let things go means trash is piled up waist-high in their kitchen. The examples we see on TV are there because they’re extreme. But in every situation, they show us someone who has difficulty letting go of the stuff that they’re accumulating.

But what about the rest of us?

Many of us would say something like, “But my house is always clean, I don’t have a hoarding problem.” And I would agree. Well, sort of. And I’m talking about myself here too. 

When I read month three: possessions in Jen Hatmaker’s book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, I can’t help but to think of all the stuff I’ve collected in my home. I would kick and scream if someone told me that I had to get rid of some of this stuff. So even though my house is clean and (somewhat) organized, it doesn’t mean that I don’t have a (sort of) hoarding problem. You’ll not likely see me on TV, but…

I have some work to do.

The really cool thing about this month of [the 7 project] is that it’s not just about letting go of things. Being able to let go is definitely important. I believe that we need not be so attached to material ‘stuff’. Clinging to hard on ‘stuff’ may only serve to highlight a greed issue in our lives. (Again, please remember that I’m speaking to myself here too, mostly.)

But the best part of this challenge isn’t just packing a bunch of stuff up in the car and hauling it off to Goodwill. Rather it’s about being intentional. It’s about finding the people who have a need for the stuff you need to let go of.

As I read about what Jen and her council have done, I can’t help but to think of what Luke wrote about the early church in Acts 4:32-35

The whole congregation of believers was united as one—one heart, one mind! They didn’t even claim ownership of their own possessions. No one said, “That’s mine; you can’t have it.” They shared everything. The apostles gave powerful witness to the resurrection of the Master Jesus, and grace was on all of them.

And so it turned out that not a person among them was needy. Those who owned fields or houses sold them and brought the price of the sale to the apostles and made an offering of it. The apostles then distributed it according to each person’s need. (The Message)

I wonder what that would look like today. I think I have an idea now…

What are you doing? How are taking on this challenge this month?

Are you a participating?

Then we want to hear your stories! Feel free to jump into the discussion here in the comments anytime throughout the month. If you have blog then you can use the banner image below to show people that your [the 7 project] stories are a part of this project, and then use the linky tool to share the links to your blog post (or Facebook Notes) so others can visit and encourage you.

Our hope is that this online community will become a sort of virtual ‘council’ where we can support and encourage each other as we walk this out together!

[the 7 project] at bibledude.net: an experimental mutiny against excess

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  1. Deirdre

    I think this month is a doubled edged sword. It’s garage sale season of course, and part of purging stuff I think should include resisting the impulse to replace it or buy more unnecessary stuff. You know what I’m saying? My eye gets caught by every little florescent sign in the ground and it’s tempting to stop and browse but it’s all too much. I will find myself purging again if I don’t use discipline now.

    • Tessy

       Yes, we are in the season where all the little towns around here are having their area wide yard sales.  I enjoy going but like you… it seems crazy to add to when your trying to get rid of…. 

  2. Jessica Drake

    So I’ve been reading 7 for the past few days. Yesterday I went through my closet and am embarrassed to admit this is what I found:
     36 pairs of pants/jeans
     32 camis/tank tops
     25 pairs of pajama pants/shorts
     20 t-shirts
     12 purses
     12 skirts
     4 dresses
     85 sweaters and shirts…

    Our local SAF house for abused women is about to get A LOT of nice size 5 clothes (7 of which still have tags on them)

    • @bibledude

      Dang… that is a bunch of stuff! And I’m glad that you’ve found some good recipients for a bunch of it! Way cool! Have you delivered it yet? What was their reaction?

  3. Tessy

    Not sure if I was ready for the lesson God is teaching me.  The challenge to not just get rid of stuff but make it personal and actually minister has left me a bit paralyzed.  I can get rid of stuff — but to make it personal – that is a different story.

    • Deirdre

       I agree Tessy. It’s humbling I think to look into the person’s eyes and hear the “thank you”

    • @bibledude

      Yeah… after reading this month in the 7 book, it definitely seems like dropping stuff off at Goodwill is kind of a cop-out. But check out the garage sale post in the shared links in this post. I know that Jen Hatmaker is running some GS4O stuff to build safe houses in Haiti… my son did the same thing to build a playground for orphans down there. It’s a great way to make it personal…

      • Tessy

        I have coordinated my own yard sale which will be June 1st & 2nd and all proceeds will be going to build the school at Kaka which I visited while in the DRC – so that is super personal.  I got the idea from Jen and the Haiti project.  I was able to give away some items that I could of easily sold at the yard sale hoping that they would be a blessing to someone else.  

        • @bibledude

          Love it! I can’t wait to hear how the yard sale goes!

  4. Dave Smith

    Killing two birds with one stone, I made my kids learn how to use a spreadsheet by cataloging what they found in their closet.  Both illuminating spiritually and technically educational.  When you actually attach dollar signs to everything and think about what that money could have done for someone else, you simply have to be moved.

    Dave Smith
    Sermons on Giving

    • @bibledude

      I love the inventory idea! I know my son has toys and stuff that he never uses and it would be huge for him to really understand the cash value of all of it…


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[the 7 project] month three: possessions

by Dan King time to read: 3 min