A little-known fact: the joy of having nice possessions blossoms when we share with others. Hebrews 13:16 reads, “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (NIV). However, culture preaches the opposite: bigger is better and more ensures happiness.
How have we gone so astray?
I coined the phrase “material mentality” to describe the phenomenon when our belongings shackle us to the maintenance and escalation of possessions. We never have enough; we always want more. The more we have, the more we need to take care of; time and effort must be expended toward our stuff.
How much of your focus is spent on your material things? Your home? Your car? Your clothes?
Or better yet …
What would your life look like if you only wanted what you already have?
Sharing proves a tough lesson to learn, both for adults and children alike. Generosity constitutes an approach to life rather than a personality description. Truly generous people hold their possessions in an open hand, willing to give to others.
One of the biggest untruths scripted by the Enemy says a limited number of resources exist at God’s disposal; if someone receives blessings, then someone else goes without. This way of thinking constructs a smokescreen designed to keep us fettered to our belongings.
And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8).
God repeatedly teaches me the lesson of abundance. He holds more provisions than He could bless any of us with. God maintains an infinite surplus. And yet, we go around with a poverty perspective, jealous of what others possess because more for someone else means less for us.
People, how much would your life change if you viewed it through the lens of abundance? A person has to make roughly $33,000 per year to be considered in the top 1% income earners in the world (https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/050615/are-you-top-one-percent-world.asp). Maybe we all need a shift in viewpoint.
Here are some practical challenges:
- At the beginning of each month or with each paycheck, set aside 1% of your gross income to give away. Do this first and not with what might be leftover.
- For one month get rid of three things every day. Everything counts: an old card, a sweater, or a book can signify one of your three items.
- Spend some contemplative time thinking about your passions. What people groups move you? Where do you feel drawn? Find a volunteer activity which encompasses your enthusiasm and donate your time and resources.
Starting with the three challenges will help you to begin deconstructing your material mentality, developing a mindset of generosity, and practicing increased sharing your life.
When we give to others, we give of ourselves. It is a way of being known and to know others.
Much love, K.