"Empty the Attic!"

It was a curious looking homemade cardboard sign that welcomed us on flea market morning, "Vide Grenier." I had to get some help in translating it from those of the family who speak French. Monique couldn't decipher it and Phil wasn't sure what it meant either. So, the expert linguist was consulted and Elizabeth said, "It's an expression like - empty the attic!" As we stepped through the threshold and walked into the ground floor living room of this old rock house, we began to assess what this resident had carried down from the attic. There were numerous household pieces, large and small, that beckoned to new owners for re-purposing.

As we know from our experiences back home, homeowners prepare for the seasonal garage sales by getting everything out from the basement, attic, closets and garage that they want to sell. These items are moved to driveway tables and spaces thus allowing others to view them. It would seem that the familiar slogan is true on both sides of the Atlantic, "One man's junk is another man's treasure!"

I'm not a "garage sale" kind of guy, but I have several family members and friends who would never miss one. I wish I could say that I have everything in such order in my house and life that a garage sale or flea market is not necessary, but those who live with me know that I have trouble letting things go. I collect, store and put on shelves far too much for the storage space that is available!

I walked around on that morning from stall to stall at the flea market thinking a lot about the "existential implications" of that cardboard sign. Though retired from the pulpit ministry, I'm always thinking about my next sermon illustration, I guess. I had even said to Phil as we walked away from that old residence with the sign leaning up near the door, "I think I can write a blog about that one!"

Jesus told a sobering story one day about a demon tenant who had cleaned and swept out his house only to return later with seven other demons to join him as residents (Matthew 12:43-45). The targeted audience were the Pharisees who cloaked themselves in self-righteousness and judgmentalism, but had neglected true love, compassion and justice for others. The point of the parable is that if we "empty the attic" of our lives but do not fill that void with good things, then we may see evil return with a vengeance!

It would seem to me that the French expression, "empty the attic" has spiritual meaning for most of us who store up things that we ought to let go. What have you got in your mental cloud storage that is taking up good space? Are you scheming anger, malice, jealousy, or gossip? It's time to move this along, sweep the inner space of our lives clean and breathe in the fresh and clean thoughts that God can bless.

Paul said to his beloved Macedonian church friends, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things" (Philippians 4:8).

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,
active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com


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