Nearly everyone I know would admit to having too much stuff. I certainly do. Some years ago during a move, I came across a box marked, “Do not open this box, just take it with you.” Since I recognized it as having survived several moves, I tried to remember what was in it as I cut it open—miscellaneous do-dads of some sentimental value to me but to no one else. I would never do anything with them. Not exactly a numismatic treasure box.

As my accumulation of “stuff” has developed over the years, it has occurred to me that if the Lord does not come first and consume it, someone will sort through it after my demise and wonder why I kept these things. With some nudging from my wife, Jan, I actually threw away three boxes of stuff recently. She has put it on my list to do again.

Now, I have never been a hoarder and I don’t think I’m obsessive/compulsive. But I do have too much stuff. If I haven’t read a given book or even opened it in three decades, why do I spend the energy to move it around? And if I’m not moving, why do I let it take up space on the shelf just to impress…whom?

I have also discovered that with accumulation comes the problem of maintaining stuff. And I have begun wondering—do I own it, or with the time I invest in making it run, keeping it clean, painted, trimmed, repaired or whatever, does it really own me?

The last church of which I was pastor had an $800,000 loss due to a fire. The accumulated dust in the attic was the fuel for an over-heated air conditioning fan bearing. That memory has been the launching pad for this last editorial of 2014.

Is the stuff I own (or that owns me and my time) merely an accumulation for the fire? If so, I should shed some of it. And if the cleansing fires of the end time are delayed, shouldn’t I spare my family of having to do what I haven’t? It won’t exactly be fun for them.

Nebuchadnezzar also had too much stuff. Massive buildings, a three-lane-wide city wall, an endless water supply, gardens, palaces and more. It all became a source of pride that deprived him of seven years of his prime time as king while he ate grass like a cow. Being proud of your stuff can be even more damaging than simply being owned by it.

When I think seriously about this, I realize I don’t truly own anything. It is loaned to me for this time of my life. As I write, the American Markets on Wall Street are on an amazing roller coaster of uncertainty. That value, too, can evaporate like a desert mirage.

So what’s the point? We are not owners but managers—of our time, our talent, our relationships, our health, our stuff and our resources. We don’t own any of it. At this stage in our annual cycle, it is good to stop and consider. I would encourage us to take inventory of what we manage, or what manages us. As a steward/manager, ask, What really matters? Have I let “stuff” get in the way of what the Lord expects? A steward must take the time to rebalance priorities.

Perhaps it’s time to make confession. Perhaps it’s time to square up accounts. Maybe it’s time to let the real Owner direct the process and inform us of His plan.

I wish for you the abundance of the presence of the Lord in your life as we look forward to 2015.