The Giant Green Dumpster

January 28, 2022

“But godliness with contentment is great gain; for we brought nothing into the world and we can take nothing out of it.”  1 Timothy 6:6-7


The giant, green dumpster thundered as it settled from the truck to the driveway.  

The sound echoed the finality of my father’s passing. He was gone.  But a lot of his stuff was still here.

We had set aside items that had sentimental value. We had donated furniture, books, etc., to local charities. Now, it was time to throw away everything that remained. 

So, for the next couple of hours, my brother and I had the unpleasant task of filling the large container with a variety of belongings from my father’s empty home. 

If you’ve walked through a similar process after the death of a loved one, you know it can be both an emotional and eye-opening experience.    

Memories are stirred up.  

Tears flow down.  

Every item you toss causes your heart to grieve a little more. 

But at the same time, the experience can open your eyes to the truthfulness of today’s verse.  

I was in my mid-thirties when my father died. At the time, I wouldn’t have considered myself overly materialistic or too attached to my stuff. Yet, in some ways, that day was a wake-up call.  

It challenged me to see my possessions from an eternal perspective.   It caused me to evaluate the subtle ways that materialism may have crept into my heart.   I also came to the startling realization that one day my kids will probably either donate or discard most of my personal belongings. 

In one sense, we all know we can’t take any of our stuff with us to the grave.  

As the old saying goes:  

“You’ll never see a U-Haul behind a hearse.”  

 Here’s the thing – do we live like we really believe that

What Paul wants us to value more than anything in this world is godliness. In stark contrast to others who saw godliness as a means to “financial gain,” true godliness doesn’t have selfish motives (1 Timothy 6:5). It revolves around “seeking first” the eternal kingdom of Jesus (Matthew 6:33). Godliness, that is, reflecting the character of God, is a byproduct of cherishing our faith in Him above anything on earth.   

And none of us (myself included) drift towards godliness.

If we really want godliness to define our lives, it’s going to take intentional effort. We can’t go with the flow of materialistic culture and expect to be godly. That’s why Paul challenges his young protégé, Timothy, “keep your heart free from “the love of money” and pursue righteousness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.” (1 Timothy 6:10-11). Simply put, godliness is something we have to chase after. 

Chasing after more stuff just leads to the frustration of a selfish heart. Chasing after godliness, however, leads to contentment. Though the world relentlessly tells us that we must have the latest and greatest, we rest in the sufficiency of Jesus and trust Him to provide for our needs. Content in Him, we enjoy our possessions as a pleasure of life, not the essence of life. 

I’m not trying to be morbid, but here’s the bottom line: each of us is drawing closer to the end of our time on earth.

And as one pastor says, “Just like in Monopoly, everything we acquire will go back into the box at the end of the game.”

The “game” is life.  And the “box” just might be a giant, green dumpster parked in your driveway. 

Written by Jonathan Munson, Executive Director, RFTH