Consumerism vs Generosity

I was struck again by a sermon at my church.  It was on Matthew 6:22-23 and was entitled “The Dark Side of Unchecked Ambition.”

Matthew 6:22-23On it’s own, Matthew 6:22-23 is kind of an odd little Bible verse:  “the eye is the lamp of the body.  So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.  If then, the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!.”  In actuality, it’s a powerful statement on the importance of generosity.  The original Greek would lead to a translation much closer to substituting the word generous for health.  In other words, you could read Matthew 6:22-23 as “The eye is the lamp of the body.  So, if your eye is generous, your whole body will be full of light.  But if your eye is not generous, your whole body will be full of darkness.  If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”  Honestly, that’s still a little confusing!

Another way to understand Matthew 6:22-23 is to read it in context:

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, If your eye is healthy,your whole body will be full of light.
23 But if your eye is unhealthy (bad),your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
In plain English, this Bible verse is telling me that I cannot surround myself with stuff. The love of stuff and the hoarding of it prevents truly free generosity and gets in the way of serving God.  We are blessed by what we give away.
For me, on the surface this is really a challenge!  I know that I’ve talked many times about it, but I really enjoy shopping.  I also really like the idea of having wealth.  Yet, this Bible verse would tell me to recognize when I have enough and to generously give above and beyond that.  In fact, I need to get beyond even concentrating on having enough.  It’s not about “having” at all.  I need to concentrate on God and His Will.
Really, Matthew 6:22-23 is a difficult set of verses for me.  I need to escape consumerism and concentrate on God.  The Keller Family has so many blessings, but to really understand and serve God, we need to  share those blessings.
I’ll be writing a blog post tonight on my most recent Stitch Fix subscription. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have kept a single thing.  The clothes are a waste; I don’t need a single item.  Now, there is one of them that I just love, but now I’m torn.  This Bible verse would tell me to quit obsessing, suspend my subscription (already done, actually), and donate my extra items to women in need.  Even just thinking about all of these consumer items is just such a waste!  I have to quit defining myself in terms of stuff and instead define myself in terms of memories, experiences, and my own actions.  It’s important for my own salvation, and it’s important for the salvation of my children.  After all, I’m setting an example every day for BK and MK.

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