February 1982

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

For eighteen years we have called this page, "Stuff About Things." Previously, I wrote a column for our local bulletin under that heading. We have published a book by that name. And now someone has the gall to ask me where I got such an absurd title.

"Stuff" is not absurd! When Laban missed his stolen idols, he searched the "stuff" of Jacob. And when Jacob prepared to move to Egypt, Joseph told him to leave his "stuff" behind, for the goods of Egypt would be his (Gen. 31:37; 45:20). Moses even delivered laws concerning "money or stuff" (Ex. 22:7). Achan and the children of Israel put spoils of Jericho (including "devoted things") among their "stuff," to their sorrow (Josh. 7:11).

Bashful Saul hid among the "stuff" (baggage, A.S.; 1 Sam. 10:22), and in time of war, David made laws to reward those who stayed with the "stuff" (1 Sam. 25:13; 30:24). When Nehemiah returned from a trip to Babylon he found that Tobiah had moved into the "courts of the house of God" and was living there. He promptly threw his "stuff" out of the chamber (Neh. 13:8). "Stuff" is eminently "scriptural!" My Kentucky sources tell me about a preacher who announced his sermon title to be "Y.G.M.T.S." His text was Ezekiel 12:1-16, where God told the prophet to pack his "stuff" (for exile), dig a hole through the wall, and move out. (This was to signify the coming captivity of Israel.) The preacher drew a wagon on the chalk board, loaded it with whiskey, dice, and other gambling equipment, then preached his sermon: You Gotta Move That Stuff. Not exactly in context, but You Gotta admire his ingenuity.

A picky picky person could point out that "stuff" is used in the Bible with reference to baggage, household items, things; and that I use it with reference to ideas about things. True enough, but surely you would not want me to say, "Things About Things." And you must admit I hide my ideas among the "stuff," just like the Bible usage cited. Sometimes they are so well hidden I have trouble finding them myself, once the article gets cold. For example, if I didn't tell you, would you ever guess this article shows the absurdity of a concordance sermon, that makes 100% use of a Bible word, but presents little Bible teaching?