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Less is More
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Recently the U.S. Census Bureau released some statistics on how much the average American makes per year. It came to about $28,000, yet many Americans spend and aspire to a lifestyle of more than $100,000 per year. This gap provokes them to go on buying binges, rely heavily on credit cards, and buy bigger houses than they can afford or need. They strive for luxury over functionality, and it keeps changing over time. Things that used to be luxuries become necessities, causing their goals to be set even higher.1

The meaningfulness of a job, happy marriage, children and friends have declined, replaced by material wants and desires. Having a job that pays a lot more than an average job, having a really nice wardrobe, a second home, a boat, a second car and other consumer products have increased substantially.

Strategic Consumption

The alternative to this mass consumption for the sake of consumption would be strategic consumption, living within one's own means. We become enslaved to our consumption, working more hours for more money to spend. Durable resources for our well being, such as healthy relationships, family life, friends and community suffer from our neglect, as we devote ever more attention to maintaining our fleeting comforts. Instead of living content horizontal lives, we're ever moving vertical until one day, like bugs to a zap light we're bankrupt, without a house, credit, or worse.

Again and again in the Bible, Jesus asks us to be humble, to be happy with what we have, to not covet the things that others have. He does this not to be some big curmudgeon that stands over us to make sure our lives are miserable, He does it so that we may be free, untethered to the things of this world that only act as obstacles for moving forward.

Jesus would have us store up our treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:20), rather than watch them decay and rust here on this earth. He would rather us invest our time in improving our relationships, friendships and communities; investing time in solving social issues like poverty, homelessness, education and the environment; investing more in leisure time, family time and in practical matters, all the things that get crowded out while we're attending to our status-oriented consumption.

Let's make sure our treasure's are stored up in heaven!

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By Benjamin DuBose. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

1World Changing by Alex Steffen


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