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.” —Luke 12:15
I lived in rural India for a few months, years ago. During my time there, I worked with Indian colleagues who quickly became friends; when one invited the rest of us to his house for dinner, and we gladly went.
I recall this visit vividly because my friend’s entire living space was about the size of a walk-in closet. It consisted of a cot for sleeping, one shelf with one change of clothes and a few books, and a cooking area in the corner with a few pots and pans.
My good friend lived his full and fulfilling life with fewer possessions than I had carried over in my suitcase. Yet he had everything he needed.
It was in this moment, more than any other, that I felt the impact of materialism on my identity, my soul, my understanding of Christianity, and my spiritual formation.
What do we need? How much is too much? Are we really trusting God when we hang on to so much? What shall we do about it?
Without a doubt, the way Americans have been discipled by consumerism has impacted our understanding of the Bible’s teaching on trust. We must heed Jesus’ words carefully with our abundance of possessions: “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
Questions for reflection and discussion: What would your life be like if you suddenly owned only five things? How does living with an abundance of possessions impact your understanding of the gospel and make you vulnerable to “all kinds of greed?” What can we do about it?
Church Bible Reading Plan: 2 Samuel 7; 2 Corinthians 1