Been reading a great book called Beyond Greed (available at www.matthiasmedia.com.au). It tackles all sorts of issues that materialism, wealth and greed present for the world and for Christians today. One of his main points is that greed is actually a form of idolatry that many of us fail to recognise in ourselves. It’s one of those diseases that everyone else has except for me. Brian Rosner points out that such thinking is absolute folly and self-delusional. He notes that even pagan journalists are happy to point out to us that money is an idol for our society.
Bereft of employment security and increasingly detached from traditional faith in religion, people appear to have elevated material objects… Virtually to objects of faith. (Alexander Frean, Times Magazine).
Christmas is a time when this idolatry is preyed upon by marketing directors, retail stores, Westfield and our society revels in it. We rush to the god of Christmas, Westfield, and under the guise of “Christmas is a time for generosity” we buy gratuitous gifts for one another, hoping we receive at least as good as we give.
The Briefing recently accused Santa of promoting greed.
…since he provides Christmas gifts, he removes any need for people o focus on what they will give to others. Thus, people’s focus becomes completely centred upon what they wish to receive. Mr. Claus has turned a time that was once known as a time of generosity and selflessness into a time of selfishness and greed.
All very pessimistic isn’t it. But a wonderful corrective for us, and especially at Christmas time and as the new year approaches. What has been your attitude to money this year? Are you serving money or is your money serving you and God’s kingdom? What steps are you taking to be generous and wise with your money next year?
Jesus’ words are stinging: No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
I think in 1 Tim 6:17-19 Paul suggests three things that will help us to make sure money is our servant and not the other way round.
17Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
1. Recognise all your stuff comes from God. Even what we think we have earned for yourself has been given to us by God.
2. Realise that money gives us false hope. True hope is found in the true and living God, so put your hope and trust in him.
3. Give your money away. Paul says to be generous and willing to share. Get a Compassion kid, support our MTS trainees, give money to missionaries. Let God be the master of your wallet!
Have a tops Christmas!
Sam and Prue