Generosity & Simplicity
The sermon on May 22, 2016 was from Luke 12:13-21 in our Lord, Teach Us series. Jesus taught us how greed comes from a wrongly directed hunger. Greed arises, then, from our idolatry (Col. 3:5) and takes our eyes off Christ. The ultimate goal for discipleship in this area is to replace greed with a hunger for Christ, who IS our life (Col 3:4).
Questions to help us expose our idolatries:
- Where does your mind go when it’s left unchecked to roam? (“Your religion is what you do with your solitude,” William Temple ).
- What dominates your thoughts?
- What are your deepest fears?
- Are there areas that “push a button” for uncontrollable emotion in your life – anger, fear, sadness?
- Do you have any obsessions or addictions?
- What does your budget reveal about your priorities?
- What does your schedule reveal about your priorities?
Along the way, two time-honored disciplines that battle greed are Generosity & Simplicity. Below you’ll find some questions of the heart and some practical suggestions toward this end that may serve as ideas and conversation starters.
Generosity undercuts greed by redirecting our hungers into channels that bless and love people.
- Plan your giving. Be specific about percentages of your income. Set up automatic drafts.
- Volunteer in ways that take you outside of your comfort zone.
- Write benevolence into your budget. Even if you have to start small, like 10/mo. Then treat this as money you MUST use to bless someone else lavishly.
- Seek God’s heart for the poor through study and prayer.
- Give away the same amount of money that you spend on Christmas gifts. Take careful account of all Christmas spending you do, and make a commitment to give away an equal amount of money. This curbs runaway spending, but also trains us to love God and others in the middle of that season.
- Give TIME away at the same rate that you spend time in recreation.
- Spend time getting to know someone who is without monetary resources. Befriend them.
Richard Foster says, “The inward reality of simplicity involves a life of joyful unconcern for possessions.” The outward expression of this inward reality guards against greed by building in boundaries that don’t let us hunger for more.
- Purge STUFF: Every time you get an item of clothing, give another one away. New shirt? Pick an old one to give away. How many shoes do you need? How many belts?
- Make a plan to get rid of all consumer debt – and stay accountable to it
- Borrow instead of buy when possible.
- Beware gadgets: Don’t be swayed to purchase the latest version or to listen to the “gotta-have” frenzy of the marketing.
- Aim to have dinner at home as many nights as possible.
- Make Sabbath a priority.
- Set boundaries for how many evening activities per week your family can maintain.
- If you haven’t used it in more than a year…. Say goodbye!
- Have a day a week where you do not purchase anything.
- Don’t over-schedule your day. Do you have time to BE, to pray, to take a breath?
- Take walks.