February 2017 Good $ense Newsletter: Prime Storage

Dear Good $ense Friends,
Early last month, my husband, two little girls and I moved into our new home. In our nine years of marriage this was our 4th move and first move with two kids 3 and under. With each move (two being across the country) we purge, reduce, reconcile why we need to keep something. So while packing, purging and donating I kept asking how did we acquire so much stuff? We have two household rules that try to keep all the stuff to a minimum. Feel free to borrow, use and share these rules with those in your ministry.

First, if we get something new – maybe a toy, a book, clothes, a kitchen pan or furniture – the old one is given to a friend or donated to someone in need. This includes when we receive gifts during birthdays and holidays. Harsh? Actually, it works really well. Great habit and teachable moments for our girls.

Second, we don’t put anything on the floor in the garage and hang only the necessary tools for yard work or handy work on the walls. Our storage option in the lower Midwest, in a home without a basement, is the garage or attic. On purpose we chose to not purchase a home with more garages than we had cars. We don’t put anything in our attic minus holiday decorations. The fake Christmas tree takes up too much space in the garage!

As friends were coming over to help unpack boxes we heard the same questions over and over: This is all of your Tupperware? Where are your extra blankets? Why do you not have boxes of seasonal clothes? How are you already able to park your cars in the garage, don’t you need your garage for storage?

Down the road from my new neighborhood are 4 different brand new storage companies. Wow. These are places where when necessary or for a temporary time things in life need to be held. Sadly, more times than not, these will be filled with things that will never get used. Payments made every month to keep stuff just for keeping sake. It really breaks my heart how much time, how much money and how much effort goes into keeping up with our stuff. Is that really stewardship? Is that really wise?

There is a song playing on Christian radio lately by David Dunn, I Wanna Go Back. Lyrics talk about a simpler time in life namely childhood when there is so much freedom, faith and innocence. Several lyrics stand out to me:

Oooh, I wanna go back to Jesus loves me, this I know,
for the Bible tells me, for the Bible tells me so.
I wanna go back to this little light gonna let it shine,
gonna let it shine, I wanna go back.
When I was a kid, I didn’t care to keep up with the Joneses,
I was just happy that they lived next door.

Isn’t this the foundation of stewardship ministry, to just be happy that the Joneses live next door not worry about keeping up with them? Stuff is not bad. Having nice things is not bad.

I shared with my recent class of Raising Financially Freed Up Kids about Treasures in Heaven. How do we keep that childlike innocence about being happy about the Joneses next door? How do we impart scripture to our kids, students, those in our ministries?

Given my focus on stuff, I wonder what if we, especially those here in the United States, drilled home the verses of Matthew 6:19-21? “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Our team is praying this verse for you, for your ministry, for your church, for our world. May we only store our treasures up in heaven and be happy that the Joneses live next door.

Cheering you on,

Brooke Bartlow
Good $ense Movement
Transforming Finances!  Transforming Lives!
(844) Freed Up / (844) 373-3387 x701