MORE is a 4-letter Word

or 4 Ways to Resist the Drive to Acquire

by Susan Irene Fox

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
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About Susan Irene Fox

Jesus follower, peacemaker, unfinished human. Body: over 60; Reborn: August, 2006. Writing devotional workbooks for new believers. Dedicated to using God's grace and unconditional love to bring people into God's embrace.

Posted on December 8, 2013, in Devotion, On Christianity, On Giving, Parenthood and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Pope Francis has expressed similar sentiments on this important point!

  2. Nine years ago my family decided not to give presents to one another. My 3 adult daughters and I have never regretted that decision.

  3. Wonderful write Susan!! Such truthfilled words. The ‘HAVE too’ of the season – makes me almost despise it and celebrate at my own time. I no longer associate this time of year with Christ – which is sad really. Our older children do not really expect much – it has always been about the little ones and a bit of fantasy and as they get older they realise and learn of the reality of it all – as described here…

  4. Thanks for bringing this important societal issue to our attention. I loathe how Christmas has become filled with such crass commercialism. The commercials that blare over the TV as early as October seek to delude people into thinking that they can have a perfect Christmas if they just have more of this, more of that. The advertising media experts just know what psychological buttons to press to get children to harangue their parents until they submit and get what their children likely never needed to begin with.

    How about offering a practical gift to your children like an education savings bond? I like to receive gifts just as much as the next person, but it is a sad commentary on our society if gifts take priority over loving our neighbour and one another as Christ has called us to love them.

    Ever since the dawn of TV advertising agencies have had psychologists on staff, who tell them how best to entice the public to buy the products of the company they represent. It’s all designed to cause the consumer to part with their money. For example, to sell the latest video games there is the inevitable display of a middle to upper class family playing the video games. The message is sent to the minds of consumers that if they want to be part of the accepted with it crowd, they just have to have not only the video game, but also the latest game system to play that video game.

    Another message these commercials send out is that to be accepted by your teenage friends you have to have not just the video game and the game system, but the whole video library that goes with it.

    Just some thoughts for us to ponder.

    Kevin

    • Oh, I agree Kevin. So much more important to understand we’re already accepted by our Heavenly Father! (sigh) I truly pray enough people see and hear this message from me and others to turn their hearts around. Here is another absolutely beautiful post that I posted on Twitter and FB with a message that had me in tears. Hope this one is shared as well:
      http://www.whiteenvelopeproject.org/#top/

  5. I had never heard of oxfam before! Thanks!

  6. Thank you so much for the follow! Do check out the facebook incarnation: http://www.facebook.com/tiarasandtrianon. I can’t wait to start reading your prolific blog!
    Thanks again!

  7. Hi Susan

    What a powerful message of paying it forward after such a time of losing her husband to cancer! I too cried. The gift of love that keeps on giving. I advise everyone to watch this inspiring video. It embodies the spirit of giving from a heart of love, compassion and understanding.

    Thank you so much for sharing your blog and that moving true story with us. Your writing speaks to the heart of our spiritual journey with all of its joys and struggles.

    Susan, I thank God for you and I believe many will express similar sentiments as they get to know the blessing that is Susan because Christ’s light of love and an enduring hope for all shines through the writing you do for Him.

    God uses you to have me look at issues from different perspectives and to keep my writing for Him even more balanced and spirit-focused.

    Have a great week in your Lord!

    Kevin

  8. Hi Susan

    I have posted the link for the white envelope project on facebook and Linkedin. I give thanks to the Lord that in a period of eight months I now have 1,627 contacts on Linkedin that are all around the world. I know God has a larger purpose far beyond me for this network to have grown so quickly.

    It’s taken a lot of hard work and dedication. I have often fallen asleep at my laptop in doing the hard roll up my sleeves work of networking with many 12-14 hour days. Now, an amazing thing is happening, although Karen says she’d expect God to bless the network in the way He has been, because it really is His network for His kingdom purposes.

    I believe God is in part using this network so that I can share thoughts about faith and life, that are really connecting with so many people.

    One moving experience on Linkedin was when a man wrote to me who is going blind from macular degeneration. He viewed it as God’s punishment for not walking as close to God as he should have. The Lord used me to tell this man that this is simply not in God’s character to give the man this condition. With prayer and deep reflection I was able to get this man seeing this challenge from a different perspectve. I told him that he was witnessing for his Lord through his struggles. The fact that he was simply living each day was a testimony in itself. He was still fighting. He had not yet given up.

    I cried tears of joy when he wote back me saying, “You are a man of God, indeed.” I was just thankful that the Lord used me to have this tortured soul see that God loves him with an everlasting love.

    To God be the glory, honour, praise and thanks in all things!

    Kevin

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