or 4 Ways to Resist the Drive to Acquire
Richard J. Foster, in Freedom of Simplicity*, said, “The fruit of the Spirit is not push, drive, climb, grasp and trample.” Yet during the holidays, reason, particularly in families with children, seems to fly out the window. This is not to lay blame because the clamor of “want” is prevalent in children who are bombarded with media that target them in particular at this time of year.
Christmas wish lists abound, we laugh about going into debt…again, and those of us who are American, Canadian or Western European Christians fall prey to the roaring lion of greed ready to pounce from every television commercial and sale sign propped in the doorways of major retailers designed with the propaganda that tells us we “need” their stuff to be better, to be beautiful, to be accepted. Children can be called victims of this senseless barrage. But how about us adults?
Is it harsh to call it greed when all we want to do is get through the season slightly less financially scathed than last year? Every year we pray to the golden calf of MORE and instead of truthfully calling it adulterous idol worship, we soften it by allowing ourselves to blend in. Yes, we are not only in the world, we are of it.
Jesus prayed for the opposite. The night before his death, he prayed for his disciples. He told them that they would have troubles, and be faced with all the temptations that go along with the world in which they lived. He told them that the enemy would not leave them alone. But he also told them to take heart because he overcame the world. He protected them and he prayed to the Father to protect them after he left. (John 16:33-17:19)
The incredible thing is, Jesus wasn’t just praying for the disciples. He was also praying for you and me.
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.” John 17:20-21
We are wont to point fingers everywhere but in the mirror.
As this season winds upward, let’s challenge ourselves;
- To spend half of what we did last year
- To purchase from Fair Trade companies instead of mega-retailers
- To generously buy from places like World Vision or Oxfam America and present a gift card in someone’s name
To make our gifts add to God’s kingdom instead of our own debt.
Heavenly Father, I pray that we remember why we celebrate this time of year. I pray for all of us; that we take a step back. That we embrace our families and hold them close. I pray that we call on the name of Jesus and ask the Holy Spirit to guide us, not only in our spending but in our giving. Remind us, Lord, to step out of this world and into yours. Let us thank you for your incredible sacrifice that we can never repay. Let us acknowledge you for your ever present love, grace and mercy that we will never deserve. Let us praise you with our intent this year. Amen.
*Richard Foster, Freedom of Simplicity p.146, Ó1981, 2005, Harper One, NY, NY
This post can also be seen at Mind’s Seat: http://marmarthunder.wordpress.com/