I'm a little over a week removed from my great closet purge - where I whittled my athletic/pajama wardrobe down to three ensembles. I have to admit, I don't miss a thing that was shoved into that giant lawn and leaf bag.
There is a single internal echo from that day of cleansing, though, that continues to haunt me. It's kind of embarrassing to admit this, but these words ran through my mind...
What if I get bored wearing these same three outfits? What if I get tired of wearing the same thing over and over again?
Now for those of you who know me well, there's a bit of irony in these thoughts, considering that I wear the same Salvation Army uniform to work every day. (I can change it up with a skirt instead of pants, but nonetheless it's the same dark navy polyester and white button-down shirt.)
But my non-work clothes, that's another thing, right? I mean, they express who I am. And if there's no variety in what I'm wearing, won't people think I'm dull? Poor? Odd? Am I subjecting myself to a life without variety?
I started to consider the concept of variety. It's sold as a good thing by most marketing agencies. We need variety in toys, clothes, shoes, and especially food! Walk into your average grocery store and there's not just one, two, or three types of bread on the shelves. There's a variety of bread - so great a variety that it needs its own ginormous aisle.
And yet I still buy the same brand and flavor of bread, week in and week out.
In all this considering, I realized that in the end, variety only pointed to two things in my life: excess and waste.
Excess - in the piles of clothes I accumulated. As I pared down to the bare three, the absence of variety gripped me with a bit of fear. Yet even when all of those clothes were in my possession, I likely only wore the three that were left behind. The rest were either continually in the laundry hamper and last to be washed, or didn't fit me well enough to be a daily standard.
Waste - in so many areas of life. Anytime I try and add variety in our meal plan, there's food that's wasted. Like the random extra weird spice, vegetable, or condiment that never gets fully used, or the entire meal that my family couldn't choke down because it just wasn't anyone's cup of tea.
Imagine the food waste in grocery stores with whole aisles of bread on the docket. Could our need for choice and variety be consuming the rest of the world's food supply merely in our waste?
We can't even attempt to tackle fully the wasted money and wasted time. We waste money with the purchase of 8 Barbie dolls because, really, what kid wouldn't get bored with only 3? We waste time cleaning up the extra 5 Barbies and their accessories. Then we waste more time looking for half the toys the kids can't find because their closet is piling up with VARIETY.
Luke 12:13-24 is a passage of scripture that speaks to simplicity of life in a pretty clear and direct way.
It also speaks to the empty seduction of variety.
In the parable we learn of a man who's life is overflowing with abundance (which in Greek conveys the idea of 'more than enough' or 'more than a fixed measure'). He is so rich that he even has to build bigger places to store his 'more than enough.'
We need bigger stores - super stores! We need bigger closets - walk-in closets! We need bigger garages, attics, storage sheds - we need storage rental!
He had more than enough, but we find that he was rich in everything but God.
Jesus warns the hearers of this parable to be on their guard against every form of greed. Every form of greed. And the Greek word that translates in the NASB to 'beware' actually means that we should seek to see with the mind - perceive - know. These words deserve pause. Are there forms of greed in my life that I have not yet been able to perceive?
"For not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions."
Your wardrobe, even in its abundance, even in its variety, is not the substance of your life. It doesn't convey who you are - WHOSE you are conveys who you are.
Variety, by definition, is merely the quality of having many different things. The Christ-follower is in need of having only Him.
I want know fully every form of greed in my life. I want to be rich in God.
Want to join me?