Got all the stuff. Now What?

This weekend we finally finished prepping for the little girl’s arrival.
Over the past weeks through many of your generous gifts and through our many, many shopping trips … we’ve accumulated the “stuff” you need when you’re expecting a baby.
Here’s a list of the stuff that you need when you’re having your first baby:

  • A Crib: Not just “a crib” … but “the crib”. That’s apparently not so easy to find.
  • A Stroller: Again … not just “a stroller” … but “the stroller”. That, too, is apparently not so easy to find.
  • Nursery Decorations: This is something that must, apparently, dominate a woman’s thoughts for a period of time prior to the birth of their child. Amanda gave me to-do lists and worked tirelessly in there until it was finally finished this past weekend.
  • Diaper Bags: I’ve got mine. Amanda’s got hers.
  • Clothes: This has to be the most enjoyable part about having a little girl. She already has more clothes than her mother and I.
  • Pack & Play: Apparently these are necessities. I’ve tried to play inside it … it seems a bit cramped. But, what do I know?
  • Baby Carrier: This is probably the item I am most excited about. We special ordered a print you couldn’t buy in the stores, because I figured: “If you’re going to wear your baby, why not do so in style?”
  • Diapers & Wipes: There is no way to anticipate the amount of diapers we’re going to use. So, we’ve simply tried to accumulate as many as possible. Literally half of her closet is taken up with diapers and wipes. AWESOME!
  • Countless Other Things: From books, to tea sets, to Bumbo chairs, to Boppy Pillows, to gliders, to changing tables, to bottles, and, yes, even breast pumps … We’ve got it.

As we put the finishing touches on decorating her nursery I realized this: “We have all the stuff, but we don’t have a baby yet.”
We kind of have a baby already. I can literally see her moving in my wife’s belly. I can feel her move when I place my hand on there. It’s just that she just hasn’t made her full-blown appearance.
What comes first: the stuff or the baby?
Is it enough to have all the stuff without the baby?
I’m pretty sure that having all the baby stuff without having a baby would create a pretty shallow dwelling.
That’s how a lot of us live, though.
We identify “the stuff” that’s associated with a goal we have and think: “If I get that stuff, I can meet that goal.”
That’s not how success works at all.
That’s reverse engineering success. Reverse engineering success never works; it always leads to problems.
Sadly, that’s how many of us approach following Jesus.
“If I have the right bumper stickers and wear the right T-Shirts … then I’m a Christian.”
“If I go to church, then I’m a Christian.”
“If I have a daily quiet time, then I’m a Christian.”
“If I can quote scripture, then I’m a Christian.”
“If we solely spend time with our family, don’t have “sinner” friends, and only laugh at the Devil because he’s stupid … then I’m a Christian.”
Sadly, you can’t approach following Jesus that way; if you don’t have Jesus first, the rest is pretty empty.
Imagine that my wife was playing a really sick, twisted joke on us. She hasn’t been pregnant. She’s been wearing a “prosthetic” belly for the last few months. She was faking the symptoms: the swollen sweet, the heartburn, etc. The doctor’s were in on it. The ultrasound was just a recording. All of it was a hoax. (It’s certainly not … but follow me here … )
The baby “stuff” would suddenly become meaningless without the baby.¬†Instead of providing great joy, for me, it would signify great emptiness.
When you reverse engineer following Jesus, the “stuff” replaces Jesus practically and in our priorities. Your “Christianity” is empty simply because it lacks Jesus.
“Stuff” should always come second. In babies and most importantly with Jesus.
Questions to Ponder: 
Have you ever tried to replace Jesus with “stuff”?
What “stuff” is replacing Him in your life right now?
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