The Happiness of NOT Having Things

EmptyImage by -Mandie- via Flickr
This week we begin our Annual Stewardship Drive. There's an irony to that phrase, "Annual Stewardship Drive"... as if stewardship was something that was an annual thing, occurring sometime around October and ending around Thanksgiving with the ceremonial turning in of the pledge cards.

But, of course not. Stewardship is more than this. It's a whole shape of one's life, lived by trusting in the providence of our Lord.

Tithing is one of the practices that help us do this. It's a tangible reminder that God can and does provide for us and it's reminder that all that we have is God's alone even if we just tell ourselves that by giving back a small percentage.

Too often, however, we have a posture of scarcity in this life, living like there isn't enough to go around and that we'd never make it if gave up a percentage, anywhere close to 10% back to God.

Too often, however, this posture of scarcity leads us to trust in consumption.  We fail to see that there is great freedom in bucking the trend and finding peace and joy in getting by with less, in not finding our identity in so many of the wonderful material things we have at our disposal.

It was Elise Boulding who said the following:

Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.

In our culture, it can be a great task for the preacher to convey this to a congregation.

It's even a great task in trying to convey this to my own family.

And, if I'm honest, it's a great task in trying to convince myself.
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