It’s that time of year again: the season of stuff. Of course, holidays mean more than material things. It is a time for family, giving, gratitude, and celebrating God’s goodness. Still, despite all my good intentions for the holiday season, materialism creeps its way in. Before I know it, I’m spending too much time thinking about what I want.
Right now I find myself obsessing over Christmas dresses for family photos, gifts for my daughters and extended family, additional serving ware I wish I had for Thanksgiving, an overpriced ornament that would look beautiful on my tree, wrapping paper patterns, and–oh yes, my own personal wish list. It’s actually sort of exhausting to think about stuff so much, but yet I do it. (Tell me I’m not alone!) I tell myself I’m just being selective so that our home is not overrun with junk but instead filled with meaningful items. It’s actually a minimalist approach…sort of. The problem with knowing what I want is that I can’t always have what I want. Then what? Materialism is a trap that leads to selfishness, insecurity, and a sadness toward life.
Words of Wisdom about Materialism
Jesus had some words of wisdom for those of us who tend to be consumed with the material things of this earth. Luke 12:15 says,
Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
Jesus goes on to tell them about a man who made plans to selfishly store up much so that he could be carefree for the rest of his life. Then God tells him he is going to die before he can enjoy it. Jesus proceeded to warn us not to worry about our material needs in the future.
Rich in God, not in Possessions
Does this mean we should splurge right now with all we have? Of course not. Jesus is saying all this in relation to our giving. At this same time we read about being rich toward God and giving to the poor. So the idea is that we should not be consumed with worry. Nor should we neglect sharing our blessings with others in order to store up excess for ourselves, because time on this earth is fleeting. We should live our lives in light of eternity. I encourage you to read Luke 12:13-34 if you struggle with materialism.
Is it wrong to think about what gifts I’d like to give my children, or what I might put on my own Christmas list? No; however, allowing these material things to control my joy or prevent me from giving to others is wrong. Materialism draws us further from God. it is sin.
An Action Plan
I’ve yet to completely overcome this sin in my life but this year I am determining an action plan for myself to help me fight.
- I will think about what I already have, how its use might be extended, and choose to be grateful.
- I will immediately delete e-mails from stores that I know I will not be making a purchase from. The same goes for catalogs in the mail. Those expensive clothing or decorating catalogs I like to swoon over–goodbye!
- Most importantly, I will spend time in God’s word and in prayer. This is a time where Satan really tries to attack and so I must tie myself tightly to the Lord and His word.
Do you find yourself consumed with “stuff” during the holidays? There is hope! Draw near to God and find joy in what He’s already done for you. Let’s vow to enjoy the people we love and put on hearts of gratitude this holiday season!
Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! – Psalm 34:8
Be encouraged by these posts as well!