The Stuff Gap: Contemplating Comparison

I loved coming home on furlough. And, I hated coming home on furlough. I loved being home and seeing friends.  And, I hated seeing the stuff my friends had accumulated! It seemed that every friend I reunited with on furlough wanted to take me on a tour of their home. I loved to see what they owned.  Their homes were so beautiful.  But, something tugged at my homemaker heart. I found I had to battle a ‘longing’ for stuff.
When we decide to live a life off of donor income certain realities come with it!
  • We work for God!
  • This places us in a different ‘stuff’ category than others around us–or so we feel!
  • Our income comes from God through donors. 
  • We have been entrusted with $ from donors who want to invest in our ministry. 
  • We want to be godly stewards of God’s financial provision. 
  • It is a given that many others around us will have more stuff and ‘better’ stuff than us!
  • It is not wrong that they do…most of the time. 
  • It is our response that creates the “stuff gap.” 
For many of us being on staff does not facilitate the financial support we need to stay current in fashion, home décor, clothing and etc.  What do we do with the ‘stuff gap’ moments we experience as we relate with our friends and acquaintances?
There are no easy answers as we battle the “stuff gap.”
But God….
First, He reminded me that we should not compare or measure ourselves with others as explained in 2 Corinthians 10:12. It simply is not wise.  On furlough the longing for stuff would hit me when I least expected it and if I gave into it I would quickly grow discontent with what I did have.
Secondly, God reminded me that while He blesses others with ‘stuff’ He had blessed me with Himself!   I do not say this boastfully, well wait a minute, yes I do!  Jeremiah 9:24 and other verses encourage us that if there is any boasting to be done then we are to boast in that we know the Lord! I have friends who own tons of stuff who realize this and, also, truly boast in knowing Jesus.  Knowing Him is premier currency in true life evaluation.
Most important, as God moved my heart from envious reaction to godly response were several Old Testament passages where God speaks to ‘His staff,’ the Levites, as they divided the land:
And the LORD said to Aaron, “You shall have no inheritance in their land, neither shall you have any portion among them. I am your portion and your inheritance among the people of Israel. Numbers 18:20 ESV                                                                                                                              
Were the Levites left out as they faced their “stuff gap?”  Should they have felt cheated or depressed? Certainly not!  Clearly, God honored them by giving them Himself. 
I have learned to relish and celebrate that I have Him. I have learned to rejoice with those who have much stuff and be thankful for the stuff I do have but mostly that I have HIM!  I can walk away from those “stuff gap” moments strengthened because, “He is my portion.”
And, over the years, we have never gone without.  God has continually provided not only our every need but bonus homes, opportunities, tickets, bargain deals, etc. that we could never have afforded. How about you?  
Dana with Tom has been on staff with the Navs for over 30 years and married over 40 years. They are blessed with six children and seven grandchildren. Dana has lived in many places throughout her life time: Florida, Maryland, Indonesia, Chicago and Colorado Springs to name a few. Dana’s loves are the Word of God, people and helping people learn.  

To contact Dana please email her at:

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