Christmas is two months away and I’m already thinking about my budget – what I “need” to buy and how much I “need” to spend. My children have started to hint at what they want.
This is what Christmas is all about, right? A season of spending money on gifts, of which less than 1% will remain in use six months after the sale (Annie Leonard, The Story of Stuff). I’m not saying that we shouldn’t give gifts at Christmas or that consumerism is intrinsically bad . . . but in today’s #DailyBibleReading in Luke 12, Jesus says I need to make sure my mind isn’t focused on collecting material goods. The focus of my mind should be on Him and I should be guarding against greed.
Then he said,“Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” Luke 12:15
“Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” Luke 12:21
On the surface, I love the idea of “Minimalism” and have tried living much more minimally over the past few years, but even that can be its own idol – just as much as money – if my focus is on “minimizing” my stuff rather than following Jesus.
“And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.” Luke 12:29-31
The debate isn’t Consumerism vs. Minimalism. The real struggle is where is my mind – am I making my prayer life and time with Jesus my number one priority? Where is my security? Am I worrying or am I trusting in God? Am I generous and helping the poor, or am I greedy? Do I want more than I need?
“Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” Luke 12:25
What is Jesus calling me to do in Luke 12?
- Keep my mind focused on Jesus
- Guard against greed
- Don’t worry
- Give to those in need
- Trust in God
“Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Luke 12:33-34
Will I change anything this Christmas?
Hopefully, I shop less and celebrate Jesus’s birth more.
Hopefully, I will spend less time wrapping gifts and more time doing puzzles and playing games with my family.
Hopefully, I will spend less time worrying about my budget and more time celebrating the nativity.
Because isn’t that what Christmas is all about? The Hope of the world being born to a virgin and sleeping in a manger. Joy to the world isn’t about presents under a tree, but about a baby born to save us.