MORE is a 4-letter Word

or 4 Ways to Resist the Drive to Acquire

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

This post can also be seen at Mind’s Seat: http://marmarthunder.wordpress.com/

28 comments

  1. Great post Susan! I just published a post titled, “The Gift of Reflection” which is about “More.” I hope you get a chance to read it.

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    1. I did, and commented. So glad we’ve found each other.

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  2. Mich-in-French · ·

    So true and I share your sentiments! It is so sad that people lose sight of what really counts.
    I also wanted to tell you that I have nominated you for The Sisterhood of the World Blogger’s Award which I hope you will accept. You deserve it! Here is the link:
    http://lessonsinfrench.wordpress.com/2013/12/10/sisterhood-of-the-world-bloggers-award/

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    1. Mich, thank you as always for your gracious support. While I’m not accepting awards (I need to put up my “award free site” logo), I appreciate your ever kind words and this gesture of connection. Bless you.

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      1. Mich-in-French · ·

        Any time xx bless you too

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  3. Bang on from this Brit Susan, and yes, it is used here in the UK and it is a good meaning! As in, your message and this post is bang on my friend 🙂

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  4. Very impactful! Also, welcome to Mind’s Seat! 🙂

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  5. Bang on from Scotland too! Well said, Susan. A lot less is very often much more. 🙂 x

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    1. Thanks! Hmm, I think I’m going to start using this phrase from now on. I rather like it! 😉

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      1. I think it might have something to do with ‘bang on the nail’ – exactly hit. I think! 🙂 x

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      2. Ah, thanks for that. Makes sense. I knew you were a gem!

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      3. Clearly that explanation was bang-on. }:-)>

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  6. I get this terrible feeling when I see people going overboard with buying Christmas gifts…especially for the children. The sad part is that with each year the expectations increase. I just pray that Christ will be the center of each person’s Christmas. A very good post, Miss Susan! xo…dale

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    1. Thank you. Yes, I pray that children especially understand the importance of why this season is important. I pray that parents be caught up in the wonder of Christ’s gift of freedom instead of gifts of merchandise.

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  7. I hear that. We’ve scaled way down – mostly by financial necessity – and are looking at Christmas through different eyes. My kids all loved the Little House books, and now they are grown up they are thinking that kind of simplicity. Homemade gifts, time together and worshiping together are all far more encouraging than big ticket items.

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    1. Love the homemade gifts idea. Much more meaningful, too. And time and worship are so much more valuable than anything store bought. Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Susan.

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  8. Great post, Susan. Bang-on in every regard. Thank you.

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    1. Thanks! I’m assuming Bang-on is good? 😉

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      1. Surely that isn’t a Canadian-only saying? (Yes, it’s the same as saying that it “hits the mark.” Which is also good.)

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  9. Susan- so very bang on, and in keeping with what I am attempting to do this year. It’s all about the local, smaller retailers and getting things that have some significance and/or purpose that is greater than just slapping something in a gift bag. No more mindless consumptive consumerism!

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    1. Yippee! Good for you. (As I said to Navigator, Bang-on is good, right????)

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      1. Yes, it is. Spot on? Exactly right? Perhaps it’s a Canadian-specific saying, if both Nav and I are using it and no one else is understanding us.

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      2. I thought that might be what it meant. Must be Canadian. Love learning new phrases like that. Thanks! 😀

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