A Time to Cast Away

by Patti Richter

Watching the Inauguration Day coverage of a U.S. President once inspired me to head for my bedroom closet. The new First Lady had worn a powder blue dress that looked familiar to me. I scanned the nether regions of my wardrobe where a few ghosts of my past resided. Soon enough, I found my beautiful blue wool dress peeking out from behind some holiday velvets.

Years earlier, after moving into a new home, I had reloaded an empty box with clothing I didn’t wear anymore. Maybe no one else would want the out-of-style items, but it was time to pass them on since my side of the closet could only hold so many decades’ worth of clothing. But that elegant dress was special, and I wasn’t ready to part with it.

The dress had been a gift from my mother-in-law when she worked in the couture department of a Saks Fifth Avenue store. I’d never had such a well-made dress. Now, after seeing the First Lady in a similar dress, I felt vindicated for saving it from an unfortunate fate (such as 80s night at the local high school). Even so, maybe the time had come to let it go.

The Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes examines the vanities of life. In a well-known passage, the writer says there’s a time for everything, including “a time to cast away” (Ecclesiastes 3:6ESV).

In a brief but compelling booklet titled My Heart—Christ’s Home, Robert Boyd Munger provides anallegory of the body as a house. He tells the story of Christ visiting every “room,” even the hidden places guests seldom see, especially the “closet,” with “things leftover from the old life.”

As that story continues, the homeowner realizes he has no strength to rid himself of things he should have parted with long ago. Instead, he implores Christ to help him, saying, “You’ll have to open the closet and clean it out.” And Jesus replies, “This is exactly what I came to do. You can’t live out the Christian life in your own strength…. Let me do it for you and through you.”

The Apostle Paul instructed believers that through Christ our bodies are temples where God dwells. He urged us to offer our bodies “as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God….” (1 Corinthians 6:19 ESV). This is much harder than giving away favorite old clothes—unless we rely on the One who helps us.

 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 ESV

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Patti Richter lives in north Georgia with her husband, Jim. She is a freelance journalist and long-time faith columnist at BlueRibbonNews.com with more than four hundred published articles.

Patti is the co-author of the award-winning Signs of His Presence—Experiencing God’s Comfort in Times of Suffering. It is the story of Luann Mire, whose godly husband was blindsided by an indictment due to a former employer’s tax fraud. The resulting prison sentence and restitution took the once joyful couple into a long season of suffering as they fought judicial tyranny. Helpless to change her situation, Luann endured a painful examination of her life and found God faithful to His promises.

Join the conversation: What clutter do you need to clear out of your life?