During the 1970’s and 80’s I became aware of a new real estate phenomena that was transforming many areas across the United States. I was living in California where most prime real estate near cities was already occupied by shopping malls or some other type of commercial edifices. What I noticed was that the obscure parcels of land, those with odd shapes or in somewhat bad locations, began to be developed. Some smart entrepreneurial developers had struck real estate gold as they attempted to cater to the need people seemed to have for storage. Soon large areas were transformed into acres of storage buildings where people could safely stockpile their stuff. American materialism had reached new heights as people found new ways to satiate their desires for more and more.
A few years ago Lori and I took a serious look at our lives and decided it was time to simplify. We began to take a hard look at all the “things” in our lives and decided it was time to lighten the load. We took a look at everything as we kept repeating our mantra, “Simplify.” Soon bags of clothing, boxes of books, exercise equipment, tools, kitchenware, and other “stuff” was exiting our home. We lessened our grip on things and grew in a newfound sense of freedom.
Social scientists have found that people consider things more valuable once they own them. It is called the Endowment Effect and it means that if we are selling something, we tend to charge more for something than we would be willing to spend for it ourselves. We see this happen all the time in real estate. Sellers become emotionally attached to their property, even expecting buyers to pay more for their property than the market price. The fact is we place a high value on our stuff! We must exercise great care to steward what we have, which includes getting rid of the things that we really don’t need. Jesus was clear when he taught that we must not allow ourselves to be distracted by this world, but rather make sure that our treasure is on things above.