A few years ago I received an e-mail from an old friend. Sarah explained that she'd recently decided to purge her home of unwanted clothing and other items.
"It's shameful," she confessed. "Talk about stuff! I kept thinking about Jesus' caution about not storing up treasures on earth. I made a personal commitment not to purchase any more clothing for myself for one year. So far it feels good … and freeing."
I was intrigued. Though I'd always known Sarah to be a person of integrity, the random act of discipleship had surprised me. After all, Sarah wasn't some communal-living Jesus-hippy. She wasn't one of those ring-nosed, lock-headed radicals. Rather, my friend was a minivan-driving mom, with grown children, living out what she thought was right.
Truth be told, Sarah was living the way I wanted to be living. Before her e-mail had landed in my inbox, something in my gut—some would call wantedconscience—had already begun to tug. For months I'd been bothered by the obvious fact that, although I had all the clothes I needed, certainly more than I could cram into my drawers, I still kept buying more. And although I'd even had a sense that I was being called to embrace this kind of 21st century "fast," refraining for a period from buying new clothes, I hadn't yet gathered the resolve to begin.
Sensing that Sarah's weird spiritual discipline might have my name on it, I cautiously entertained the possibility of joining her.1