I’ve always thought of myself as a stereotypical guy – not having a lot of clothes and not caring. But when our Simplify challenge for this past week was to give away 1 article of clothing a day for 7 days in response to Jesus’ call to radical giving, I decided to count my clothes. I was astonished and ashamed to find that I had accumulated 277 articles of clothing (and that’s counting pairs as 1)! Before this challenge, I could keep the “I don’t have much” narrative. But this challenge confronted me with the reality: “I have far more than I need.”
So with that, I dove into the challenge. Given the excess of my closet, I decided to take it up a notch and give radically out of a different category of clothing each day. The idea was to “give until it hurts…and then give some more.” Not because we’re masochistic, but because heart surgery necessarily involves some pain. My stuff has firmly rooted itself in my heart, to the point that it leads me to focus more on myself than on God or my neighbor. I knew just how bad it was when, for instance, I came across a yellow ski jacket on day 3. I bought it at Goodwill and have literally worn it 1 time. It should have been easy to give away. But when I picked it up, I saw how nice it was. I thought, “Maybe I should keep this and wear it sometimes,” even as I looked at the other 3 nice jackets I own. It took a good deal of prayer and willpower to let go of something I didn’t even know I had! Fortunately, the more I gave, the easier it became. In fact, I became excited to give away as much as I could manage, and looked forward to each new category to go through. The results are pictured below: 45 total articles of clothing given away in 7 days.
Many others in the Hopkins Christian Fellowship dove into this challenge too. I could barely fit the donations brought to our meeting last night into my SUV! (And that doesn’t even include the piles that have been collected into several of our apartments from the boxes around campus!) In the next week, we’ll sort the donations and hopefully bless men and women here in Baltimore who need them. Specifically, we’ll donate the men’s clothing to the Helping Up Mission, a rehabilitation center for homeless and drug-addicted men, and the women’s clothing to Safe House of Hope, an outreach ministry to prostitutes and women caught in human trafficking.
Praise God for the work He’s been doing in our hearts these past 2 weeks, and we pray that He would use these sacrifices to bless our neighbors in need in our city!
Share your own lessons and experiences from the Simplify challenges in the comments below!