“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” – Matthew 6:19-20
Comparison is the Thief of Joy. – President Teddy Roosevelt
As a child, Summertime was the Promised Land. No homework during the week meant I could devote more time to watching television and making the executive decisions on what toys would make my final birthday list! Having a mid-July birthday gave me plenty of time for research, using my trusty, dog-eared copy of the Sears Catalog. But that summer, the Summer of ‘84, my mother had already made plans to foil my great unwrapping expectations. She had planned my birthday party and invited my neighborhood friends, but then, like Admiral Yamamoto on a Sunday morning, she proceeded to fill my young mind with terror! It turned out that the stack of wrapped gifts on the table was not meant for me, the Birthday King, but they were intended for the party guests! Worse than that, I had to descend my throne and deliver each one personally! It was a humbling experience to switch from high expectations of receiving and into the cold reality of giving out what I thought was already mine. The lesson my mother was trying to teach me on that 8th birthday is one we see echoed at the very birth of the Kingdom, in the second chapter of Acts. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. – Acts 2:43-45
Here we see the actions of Kingdom Men and Women who opposed the spirit of materialism in their culture, with which Christians in America still wrestle today. Materialism can be defined as a preoccupation with external things and physical comfort, to the detriment of spiritual formation and maturity. I don’t know if there’s a greater area of shared values between the world and the church right now than in the area of materialism.
Materialism summons its strength from the mirage of self-worth by means of social status. The lie is that if I “keep up with the Joneses,” I will be acceptable to my neighbor and be a man others want to be like. But for the Kingdom Man, this trap must be overcome, if union with God in Christ is to be fully enjoyed. The reason why materialism is such an insidious threat, is that it invites comparison, which diminishes process, that in turn stunts maturity, and with the lack of maturity, an abortion of legacy. We gather and accumulate items of temporary worth until there is no place to grow a treasure in our heart that enriches all whom we encounter.
Daily Battle Order:
We are all familiar with Craig’s List, our last chance at recouping value for something material. As a Kingdom Man, what have you posted on Christ’s List? What is something you love that you can freely give to the one who has need? How will generosity, sacrifice, and charity mark you and your family in this upcoming holiday season?