We’re a culture of consumption. Pastor Mark spoke of this in last Sunday’s sermon…and he’s right. We’re a culture imbued with want, not need, but want. We want the $130 dress or the $50 sneakers. We want the $25,000 boat or the house with an ocean view and a pool. We want the big screen TV or the newest, top-of-the-line Smartphone or iPad. We see it, we want it, we buy it…or wish we could. Don’t worry, I’m not going to give you a financial lecture, but I am going to talk about something else, something that stands in complete contrast and stark opposition to our “culture of consumption”.
Give Me a Hand
“In all things I gave you an example, that so laboring you ought to help the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:35)
You’ve probably heard it before, “It’s better to give than to receive.” But have you ever really thought about it. What do you get by blowing your hard-earned bucks on a frivolity? Temporary excitement, passing pride, and a hole in your pocketbook. Then a few weeks later you want something else and the thing you so wanted before sits in your closet or in a drawer or some other place, unused and collecting dust. Who hasn’t done and felt this? (I was even recently browsing an online store and adding to my wish list.) Now I’m not saying you should never buy something nice for yourself or feel bad when you do, but let’s take a moment to look at the comparison of “taking” versus “giving”. When we give of ourselves, what do we get? Maybe a warm excitement surges through you followed by a satisfaction that breezes into your heart. Maybe instead of having some material object sitting disregarded on a shelf, you’ve brought joy into someone else life, shown them kindness in a cold, revolving world. Even if you only brought a smile to their face, was it worth a few dollars from your wallet, a little energy exerted on someone else’s behalf, or a few moments of your time?
Do Unto Others
“‘As you would like people to do to you, do exactly so to them.” (Luke 6:31)
Try putting yourself in the other person’s shoes and asking yourself how you would want others to treat you. If you were a poor child in a third-world country, would you want someone to give just a little to help you? If you were an elderly lady with painful, arthritic joints, struggling to push a shopping cart and dropped your cane, would you want someone to stop for a moment and help you? If you were a man in a wheelchair trying to reach a box of cereal on a high shelf, would you want someone to take a moment and help you? Giving doesn’t necessarily have to be money-related, though sometimes it is the correct path to follow. However, more often than not, you may find that giving only requires a little time and effort.
As you go about your business this week, I challenge you to look for small ways in which you can give to others. Whether it be by a material gift, a helping hand, a sympathetic ear, or something so simple as a genuine compliment or smile.
Lord, help us live a life less full of wants,
To have a heart more prone to do
For others at what our culture daunts
And live the motto, “Do unto others, what you would have them do unto you.”
Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences with helping or how someone else has helped you in the comments section below.