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Updated: Oct 20, 2023

(Photo by Robert Bly/Upsplash)

By Dr. Bascom Ratliff

Pastor, Parker/Beagle/Fontana United Methodist Churches

The inspiration for today’s message comes from Matthew 6:31-33: Jesus tells his disciples, “therefore, do not worry saying, what will we eat or what we drank? Or what will we wear. But, strive first for the kingdom of God and for his righteousness and all these things will be given to you.”

One of the greater lies we have been told is that aggression and power are what defines our status in society. When powerful people are aggressive and commanding, they are revered and respected. Unfortunately, this notion has also infected God’s church. Far too often we place a great deal of importance and emphasis on aggression and status while minimizing the value of service and devotion to Christ. When we make our status and power more important than God they become harmful clutter that distorts and clouds our spiritual identity.

Today’s message is fairly simple. Jesus is telling us not to worry about “stuff” because God will provide that which is necessary for our life. It is also very clear that anything we do for, or give to, others that the same as giving it to God. Jesus also tells us that being humble, contrite, and forgiving are the greater attributes.

The point of my message is not so much the decluttering of stuff from our lives but the decluttering of our values, spirits, and faith. When we remove this spiritual clutter and rid ourselves of items that distract us from the serving God, we are better able to focus on those things that matter most such as our spiritual lives and our relationships. This process also helps us limit the ill effects of greed, pride, and selfishness. Our relationship with others, and especially with God, greatly improves. And our commitment to the great commandments of loving God and loving our neighbors is better fulfilled.

Decluttering is no easy task. We have a fundamental need and desire for status and recognition. We wish to be honored and praised for our good deeds and service. Our self-esteem and social standing are an important part of our identity. The respect and admiration of others often outweigh the desire for humility or meekness. Our society speaks highly of independence. Those who are strong and successful are revered and praised. Those who are perceived as weak or poor are ignored or shunned. They are often viewed as modern day lepers.

The challenge for all of us is to seek humility and service. Ridding ourselves of the need for adoration or praise and focusing on the love of Christ is an important first step. How do we do this? We begin with prayer and study. We do a fearless inventory of the clutter in our spiritual lives. We began shifting our focus to loving God and loving others. And we pray earnestly for God’s will and guidance. Maintaining our focus on spreading the good news and living a Christ-centered life helps us to de-clutter. And, as to rid ourselves of the clutter of pride and selfishness, we find our hearts are open and filled with the love and joy of a strengthened relationship with others and, most importantly, with Jesus Christ.

Obedient and Authentic Service to Christ.


If you want to hear more about God’s wonderful promise of unfailing love and enjoy a great morning of music and worship, please come and worship with us.

We will worship at the Fontana United Methodist Church during September.

We will worship at the Parker UMC during October.

We will worship at the Beagle UMC during November.

All services are at 10 a.m.

All are welcome to worship in God’s House.

Dr. Bascom Ratliff (913-710-5748)

Pastor, Parker/Beagle/Fontana

United Methodist Churches

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