I have lots of stuff.
But the stuff that is nagging at me these days is the actual stuff that is filling my house.
Clothing. Books. Papers. Pretty much everything I own.
I am constantly facing this thing called excess stuff as my Bible study group and I continue through 7.
Here are just a few of the things that have jumped out at me this week (all are quotes from the book or the workbook):
- Jesus was simply relentless in His call toward lean living and reckless generosity.
- Show me how you spend money and I’ll show you what you really love.
- …if we mistakenly spend the majority of this short life on earth earning more, buying bigger, possessing nicer, and chasing better, then at the end we have this: a mostly wasted life. Jesus begged us not to get trapped in materialism, because not only does it derail our purpose here, it’s stupid. Our stuff will matter for zero seconds after we die, and all it does is steal precious time, energy, and resources away from our true mission here.
- The more openhanded I became with my stuff, the less power they had over me.
- Our hearts are deeply connected to our treasures.
- We don’t think our way into a new life; we live our way into a new kind of thinking.
- Our justifications are full of holes we can’t make out. How we raise our children, run our churches, consider our communities, interpret who our neighbor is–when done in false illumination, we can sink and entire society, mislead a generation, abandon billions in their suffering, misinterpret the scope of the gospel.
- God, money…these are very powerful masters, both tending to induce complete subjection.
- One master will slowly pull us away from the other, bit by bit, for righteousness or for self-destruction.
- …giving away is somehow sacred, connecting to the sacrificial heartbeat of Jesus. It’s as transformative for the giver as a blessing to the receiver. When God told us to give, I suspect he had spiritual formation in mind as much as meeting needs.
- Do not be fooled by the luxuries of this world; they cripple our faith. As Jesus explained, the right things have to die so the right things can live–we die to selfishness, greed, power, accumulation, prestige, and self-preservation, giving life to community, generosity, compassion, mercy, brotherhood, kindness, and love.
- We’ve invented a thousand shades of gray, devising a comfortable Christian existence we can all live with–super awesome, except the Bible doesn’t support it. According to Scripture no real disciple serves God while addicted to the dollar…Grayed down discipleship is an easier sell, but it created pretend Christians, obsessing over Scriptures we like while conspicuously ignoring the rest.
- Maybe we don’t recognize satisfaction because it is disguised as radical generosity, a strange misnomer in a consumer culture.