Tuesday, February 26, 2013

De-cluttering with Jesus’ parable of the talents

14 ¶For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
 15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
 16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
 17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
 18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.
 19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
 20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
 21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
 22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
 23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
 24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
 26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
 27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
 28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
 29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
 30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  (Matthew 25:14-30)
This parable from Jesus gives us some really good information and principles about stewardship and the whys and hows and what ifs.  Some may say that it should only be applied to spiritual matters and not the concerns over everyday life.  However, it can really help us de-clutter. 

I like this parable because it teaches me that I am a steward of what I’ve been given and God is the master to whom I will have to report when my life is done.  I see contrasted in this parable the kind of reward different kinds of stewards get depending on how well they’ve done with their stewardship.  I see that stewards who increased their stewardship are rewarded, while those who neglected their stewardship and hid it had their stewardship taken away and given to someone who could use it better.  I like this parable because it gives me strong motivation to do my best.  

The question we might ask ourselves is how this lesson about the importance of increasing our stewardship might apply to us if we are trying to learn to how to de-clutter and get organized. 

First, we can look at it from a perspective of us as the master and the servants as symbolizing the things we own.  It gives us a pretty good strategy to use when we are trying to decide what to keep and what to get rid of.  What if we were to have a conversation with our big pile of Tupperware this way (assuming Tupperware could talk):

You:  So, Tupperware bowl, how have you served me?
Tupperware bowl: Master, I have held 25 meals in the last year.  I haven’t leaked once.
You:  Great.  You stay on.  I may get more of you sometime.  And you, long-narrow-tall piece of Tupperware, how have you served me?  What have you done?
Long-narrow-tall Tupperware: Master, I have been buried in the back of the cupboard for the last year and have not been used once.  I don’t even know where my lid is.
You: (gasping) How is this possible!  (yelling) Begone!  Out of my sight!  To the donation box with you!

Or what if we were to go to our closet and examine our shoes as if they were servants?  Which shoes would we say “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” to and which ones would we cast into outer darkness for having been buried and unused the entire time?  Anything meant to be used that hasn’t been used is fair game for this technique:

Books we haven’t read
Movies we haven’t watched
Music we haven’t listened to
Video games we haven’t played
Clothes and shoes we haven’t worn
Toiletries and makeup we have tried and haven’t liked
Jewelry we haven’t worn
Towels, bedding, and other linens that we haven’t used
Food we haven’t eaten (pantry and refrigerator)
Kitchen appliances and tools we haven’t used or prepared food with
Dishes we haven’t eaten on
Computer parts we haven’t used
Electronics we haven’t used
Decorations we haven’t put up or placed on display
Exercise equipment we haven’t used
Sports equipment we haven’t played with
Office supplies we haven’t used

Another way we can look at it is if we think of ourselves as the master and our talents and skills as the servants.  Which of our skills seem to be developing the most?  Which of our skills seems to be producing the most?  Are there any talents that we claim that seem to be buried and ignored all the time?   

This perspective is helpful because our skills usually require equipment in order for us to use them, so when a skill is buried and ignored, then that means the tools that go with it are not being used as well.  This isn’t saying that we should condemn our unproductive skills; rather, a realistic assessment will help us remove from our lives the things that aren’t serving us.  We don’t have time to do everything in this life, so it is best to focus on the talents that will really make us productive.

 Do you need extra help with organizing and de-cluttering? Hire me! Go to www.phoenixhomeorganizing.com for more information about my services! Did this article help you? Be sure to share it with your friends!


Rozy Lass said...

What a great perspective. More ammunition in my fight against the clutter that is stifling my growth. Thanks for sharing. I sure we were neighbors. Want to move to Iowa?

Michaela Stephens said...

Rozy Lass, I would love to move to Iowa.. but my husband has employment here in Arizona.
Feel free to share specific problems in comments and I'll see if I can help steer you to solutions.