Saturday, January 12, 2013

Less Materialism...More of God's Riches

Oh, the unsearchable riches of Christ!
Who shall their greatness declare?
Jewels whose luster our lives may adorn,
Pearls that the poorest may wear!
Fanny Cosby

Things. Why are they so important to us?  We don't call them things -- we call them possessions -- as if by personalizing them as ours, they take on more meaning.  

I admit, some of my possessions are important to me. The china pieces my mother painted, the framed photographs of my grandchildren, my grandmother's silverware and other sentimental pieces.  My extra-wide closet shelf  is full of candle holders (mostly bought 80% off at Hobby Lobby); china, crystal and depression glass fill the china cupboard and buffet; bird cages and flower arrangements share the closet with tea pots and and white dishes.  I enjoy using them, but I don't treasure them.

I love changing the decorations in my home. Tucking a brass bird in the magnolias on the mantle, adding a few hearts among the white pieces in my kitchen and exchanging the flowers on my dining room table with a red lacquer tray filled with varying sizes of pillar candles. Alexandra Stoddard calls it home-loving.

In my quest for less, I've decided to refrain from buying any new decorations for my home this year. I'll be shopping from my closets, the holiday bins in my garage -- even my china closet. Pink depression glass looks perfect in my bathroom, tea cups can hold tea lights and my favorite baskets can be changed for the seasons.  As I find things that just don't make me -- or my home -- smile, I'll add them to the give-away box.

Materialism is defined as, "A tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values." It's no wonder we spend so much time buying.  We are bombarded with advertisements everywhere we look. 

Do you know $462 billion dollars were spent on advertising in 2011 with an expected rise in 2012? It's no wonder our hearts are full of I-gotta-have-thats. I looked at a pair of shoes at last week, and every website I go to has an ad for those shoes staring at me. My inbox is filled with messages from sites begging me to buy their product.

This month I choose to replace materialism with God's riches.  Paul tells us to, "be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you'" (Hebrews 13:5). God, with me always -- talk about riches!  

  • Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you (Deuteronomy 31:8).

  • Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take (Joshua 1:9).

  • I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20).

  In 1787 John Rippon wrote these words:

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose, 
I will not, I will not desert to his foes! 
That soul, though all Hell should endeavor to shake, 
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!

I'll be immersing myself in the riches of God this month. Digging treasures from His Word. Mining diamonds of promise. Ornamenting myself in the knowledge that God will never, no never, no never forsake!

Father, I pray that out of Your glorious riches you will strengthen me with power through your Spirit in my inner being, so that Christ may dwell in my heart through faith.  And I pray that I will be rooted and established in love, having all power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.  Amen.  (Ephesians 3:16-18)


Shannon Wallace said...

Much of what you have written...well, I've thought about that over and over again. Especially over the holidays, as I grumbled over "having" to make gifts for family. Not that I don't like to give. By nature, I am a giver. In fact, I LOVE giving a gift! BUT...when it's "forced" and done during a time when our Saviour is supposed to be the focus...yes, I grumble. Anyway, yes, we live in a society that finds shopping a normal, daily activity. I long for simplicity, that such as Laura Ingalls Wilder experienced. Oh yes, it was a hard life, but simpler. Not 100 options for breakfast cereal, for example. You made due with what you had because that's what you HAD to do.

Thank you for sharing your heart today. :)

Denise said...

Amen, amen.

Esther Asbury said...

I have thought these same thoughts so many times. Materialism wearies and worries me. I too am on a quest for a simpler life --- and by God's grace am learning contentment with what I already have. Thanks for sharing this encouraging post today -- it's nice to hear of others on the same quest for more of God and less of this world's trinkets and treasures.

Unknown said...

Hi Pamela
Yes, I was pondering this issue as well this past few weeks. I once read the book of A.W. Tozer where he writes a whole chapter on the blessedness of possessing nothing. I first could not understand what he meant, but I do now. Now I understand that everything that takes His place in our hearts is actually a loss, for only Him and in Him there is fullness of joy!
Thank you for this timely reminder and I am glad to meet you at Spiritual Sundays! Hugs XX


Another good area to find balance in, eh?


Terra said...

Those words from John Rippon stir my soul whenever we sing that song; and I like your emphasis on seeking the riches of God.

Elizabethd said...

So well written.
I am sure that the media has done so much to push this 'gotta have' mentality along. Advertising makes young people long for what others have. Credit cards are maxed out. Oh to go back to the time when what we had was enough. I grew up during the war years and as a child I didnt have the 'needs' that apparently childen today have. We just got on with life and appreciated what we had.

Buttercup said...

Great post. I've been shopping in my closet for clothes and found lots of things that are new to me. I may add your idea for home decor items. Thanks for your sweet note on my blog and so glad you are a visitor to Buttercup's.

Gail Griner Golden at Gail-Friends said...

I'm with you, sister. Less is more. At one point in my life, I had most of my possessions in storage for a year. I felt so free!
Your post was beautiful and thought-provoking. Thanks for stopping by Gail-Friends today.
Shalom and blessings to you and yours,

Beth said...


Renee said...

Beautiful post on an important topic...can you imagine how many could be helped with the billions spent advertising?! Wow.

michelle said...

There is freedom in my lack of stuff. Great post!

Aritha said...

Thank you for this great blog. I will think about it longer.

Denise said...

For some reason, we like to own the things we love, even when it's not necessary. The more "stuff" we have the happier we are. Sometimes I just want more than I have! Although I am pretty sure that Jesus does not deny that we have these desires, I need to remember that these things I value and invest in can be gone in a minute; earthly possessions are only temporary. :)

Wonderful post my friend!
Blessings for a joyful week!

Simply Shelley said...

So true...a very wise post. I find the closer I get to him...the less my need for "things" Blessings

Unknown said...

What an awesome post, contains great food for thought. It definitely made me take note of the "things" in my life and how many I could do without. Thank you.

Esther Joy said...

David Jeremiah helped keep me and the flu bug company this Sunday and spoke about this very thing - God owns it all, but allows us to possess or have stewardship. Thoughts to mull over...

Tereasa said...

I love this, especially the idea of shopping around the house. Recycling and re-purposing can be so much fun!

a joyful noise said...

I have so much, just like many others, and I must refrain from ordering more clothes, and what nots. Going through our cupboards we discovered some things we did not need and took them to the give away place. I love your way of telling your story. Makes me want to be there with you.

joy said...

Awakening and touching post. It reahes my soul and inspires me more to seek more of God. Thanks Pamela:)

Amber said...

These are such wise thoughts. I think it's something that most women probably struggle with. It's so fun to make our homes cozy and beautiful, but there is definitely a line that can be potentially crossed.

Unknown said...

I love reading your post, very encouraging! I think we all struggle in this area. Thank you againg for hosting!

Wife, Then Mama said...

That was great. I think that everyone (me included) is way to caught up in material things. With that being said, I hope to do the opposite of you in my home this year. It is my first house, so we don't really have any decorations. If it were cleaner it would seem like we were trying to sell it with all of its "unpersonality".

Courtney said...

This is a great discipline - shopping from your own house and pausing to think more about what God has already blessed you with. I find a lot of serenity when I do that myself, and need to do it again! Love all the scripture you referenced, too.

Jen said...

We do call them, "possessions"...don't we!? As if we own anything? How incredible, never thought of that before. Yet, with all our stuff, may He possess US. And all He has be the only thing we really long for. Bold, truthful post my friend. Thank you!

Ken said...

Hi Pamela,
Thank you for your visit to my blog a couple days ago and leaving your comment. It was much appreciated. Materialism, seeking earthly treasures distracts us from seeking that which is eternal. It is not bad to enjoy different things, but one must keep them in their proper place. Jesus said to store up treasure in heaven, which will not be destroyed. Every earthly treasure will one day come to an end.
May God bless you,