If you were to take a quick inventory of your computer files, closets, toolshed, planner, desk, etc., what would you find? Would they all be uncluttered - or overflowing with files that are no longer of any use to you, out-of-style clothing, rusty screws, a batch of old letters, mountains of paper, and so forth?
The tendency to hold on to outgrown, outworn, outmoded, and cherished items is proverbial.
While someone might want to keep a few souvenirs of happy times, basically it is fear that makes people cling to the things of the past. The thought that we may need these things in the future keeps us holding and hoarding, filling our organizers and attics with needless paraphernalia.
Orderliness and beauty are qualities of God, our perfect creator. Endeavoring to express His perfection in every facet of our lives, we will find this perfection being manifested in tidiness, orderliness, and productivity in our daily activities. The Holy Bible, always a source of inspiration, says, "Let all things be done decently and in order" (I Cor. 14:40).
Christ Jesus said, "Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself" (Matt. 6:34). He lived each day as it came. Food for those who came to hear him, necessary tax money, and places to rest were available as needed. He looked to God for every need, and there's no record of an accumulation of material things encumbering him in the process.
Later, St. Paul told the young Christian church at Philippi: "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:13, 14). Following the example of Jesus is shown here to include letting go of the past, and of the things of the past.
At the same time, the tendency to put things off until tomorrow often accumulates in a series of tomorrows, which result in a stack of unread literature, unanswered correspondence, unpaid bills, uncared-for belongings. The thinking behind this tendency can manifest itself in sluggish bodily functions, drowsiness, sloppy appearance, and daydreaming. But the God-motivated desire to keep our thinking active, abreast of the times, and free of cluttered habits of thought will be expressed in a well-ordered way of life, as well as in unobstructed and unpressured bodily functioning.
Some time ago, I decided I could no longer tolerate in my home the years' accumulation of paraphernalia. I carefully scrutinized everything in the house. I disposed of whatever wasn't useful or wasn't being used. I gave clothing no longer worn yet still wearable to those who could make use of it. I discarded things that had slight sentimental value. As for books, school papers, odds and ends of toys, souvenirs, and unused household items, I either threw them away or gave them to charitable organizations.
Several unforeseen blessings resulted from this overdue clearing process. Orderliness became second nature, and my income increased as never before; it continued to increase through subsequent years. The habit of holding on to material things, basically because of the fear of letting go of them, was eliminated. And I opened my thought more widely to God's goodness, which is always present, always available, each moment of every day.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science in 1866 and founded the Christian Science Church in 1879, once made the observation that "as our ideas of Deity become more spiritual, we express them by objects more beautiful" ("The People's Idea of God," Pg. 14). Holding on to the things of the past often reveals fear of the future. But the acknowledgment of God and of His constant provision for us can keep us looking forward fearlessly. We can leave behind the clutter of materiality and be free to embrace the very tangible joys of spiritual renewal.