So I went looking for Keith. "Can you use these for nails or screws or something?" He looked skeptical but took them with him to the shed anyway.
Very shortly he was back inside with those same jars. "I already have a shelf full of them."
Still it was difficult to make myself throw them away. We are so used to saving and "re-purposing" because we have had to for so long, that it felt like I was being sinfully wasteful to even considerate it. But I took a deep breath and did so.
I wonder if we don't have the same problem with our spirituality. Habits, hobbies, even family traditions can get in the way of the time we need for spiritual things. Those things are not usually wrong. A smattering of them can even be healthy, not just to our bodies, but also to our weary minds. But what goes undone because I just can't let go of a trivial pursuit of mine in order to pursue something not trivial at all? At what point does is become "clutter" in my life?
Perhaps it is time for some careful consideration. How might I rearrange things so that I can spend more time on spiritual endeavors? Sometimes it is as simple as changing the order of things or just getting up 10 minutes early. Can I do those simple things for God, for my relationship with Him, for my spiritual health?
Here's a thought. Family night is important. I would never even consider asking someone to give it up. But maybe once or twice a month you could use that time of togetherness to cook and take a meal to someone who needs it. Or take your children with you to visit at the hospital, then stop for ice cream on the way home. (How do you think they will learn visiting otherwise?) Or spend the first half hour of family night on a devotion and accompanying discussion. It isn't that difficult to figure these things out when you really want to.
Stop saving useless "votive jars" when you already have a shelf full of them. At some point it is no longer good stewardship. At some point, even good things can become sinful.
And that which fell among the thorns, these are they that have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.