Here is a final post (for now) on our theme of Simplicity and Downsizing.
First is a scripture reflection (from me).
Then Miriam Phillips provides a few more resources and reflections for those who want to think about these issues in greater depth and live more fully into them.
In Luke 12;15, Jesus says, "Beware. Guard yourself against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own."
On the subject of Simplicity and Downsizing, I do think that every follower of Christ needs to wrestle with these matters.
I also believe that we cannot approach this as a science of rules and policies; it is more the art of the heart praying and considering what Christ wants you to do.
On the other hand, I don' want to soften what is strong medicine from Jesus. His words are concise, clear, maybe a little blunt, certainly direct.
BEWARE. GUARD YOURSELF…
We do this in the face of an enemy, in light of a threat.
EVER KIND OF GREED…
The threat/enemy is greed. The spirit that wants more. The spirit that is not satisfied with what is possessed. The spirit of accumulation and acquisition. This attitude, mindset, perspective, way of life is the enemy/threat.
LIVE IS NOT MEASURED BY HOW MUCH YOU OWN…
This is why greed is a threat. It gives us fundamentally wrong metrics we use to calibrate the quality of life. It sets us on the wrong path, a dangerous one with implications, not only for the greedy person, but for others who are affected by our greed.
Tim Keller says he has rarely met a Christian in North America who thinks they have a problem with greed. Yet, it is a problem for most of us. And we don't see it. We rationalize it by comparing ourselves, always with those who we see as having more than we do.
Okay, this devotional is turning sermonic... so I'll stop and hope it is...just an encouragement for reflection and prayer.
And now from Miriam . . .
More Books stimulating Thinking about Simpler Living
Hope in Troubled Times by Bob Goudwaard (a well-respected Dutch Christian economist who was speaking biblical wisdom about economics even before the current financial crisis), with co-authors Mark Vander Vennen, and David Van Heemst, is a brilliant analysis of the economic symptoms of the idolatry of our time, bringing hope and calling us to an "economy of enough".
Already around 1995 I found an article in which wrote that economic prognosticators are calculating from “equations that have put all their eggs in the basket of a progressively expanding economy and a rising standard of living. But these calculations no longer appear to add up.” (http://gvanv.com/compass/arch/v1405/goudzwrd.html)
Reviews about Hope in Troubled Times:
Many years ago Doris Janzen Longacre in Living More with Less challenged us to ask before making a purchase whether this acquisition would truly increase the quality of our lives—and the quality of the lives of others. Over the years that has led us to buy musical instruments and books, in addition to basics of life, but has helped us be happy with second-hand instruments, books and many other things we use.
And if you are looking for a bargain, for books that are out of print or if you want to participate in recycling books, you might want to try www.abebooks.com for connection to hundreds of secondhand bookstores in various countries.
We live richer than most of the people of the world and more modestly than some. But the ‘economy of enough’ idea and “only buying what adds value” principle continues to challenge us.