A Sensible Christmas

I suppose that money or the lack of it is the fulcrum point of Christmas in today’s society, and could cause more heartache than anything else. The world has successfully managed to brainwash individuals to meet the unspoken demands of those around and near to them with money they do not earn, especially in these restrained financial times, as values are distorted by the pressure of compliance with a materialistic culture.

The church as well as the secular community faces deprivation during this uncertain financial era, as we face Brexit, as the money market struggles to regain balance amidst a topsy-nervy humanity. We preach a gospel of moderation in a profligate age because there is an inversion to natural common sense and morality.

Spring meadow flowers are often trodden underfoot as cows smell water, and that appears to be what is happening today amongst the banking fraternity. The scent of profit destroys the landscape of ordered intelligence, as temperance is eschewed in favour of excess.  There seems to be an alarming thirst that needs quenching irrespective of the advice they are given or an example of self-control expected.

How do we, as the church, respond to this financial crisis, and deal with unemployment and restricted and diminishing funds? What do we do when all around us seems to be falling apart and we struggle to keep our families in necessary provisions and meet daily needs? What is it about money that causes many people problems? It is not just the lack of it, but how we use it that is important. We need a right perspective on an ordered financial life. The Bible has the answer, as it has in many ways about most things.

I suggest that we should work as hard as we can to earn as much as we can, do not get into debt, budget wisely, save for the future, and give consistently to charity to save covetousness. Follow God’s well-ordered plan and although you may never be rich, you will be wealthy in the real values of life.

Much gift spending at Advent is panic buying as people feel compelled to give because of guilt that is created by peer pressure that forces compliance with the norm. “What will they think if I don’t give a gift?” Does it really matter what they think, friendship does not consist of financial bestowment but faithful conferral of time and presence. Are you available, not are you rich?

It has been said that “The easiest way for your children to learn about money is for you not to have any.”[1]    Whichever way, money will govern our lives from the cradle to the grave, it is best therefore to gain a true perspective of it. It was Margaret Thatcher who said: “No one would have remembered the Good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions. He had money as well.[2]

In a subtle way “Benefits make a man a slave”[3] as society invisibly ties ligatures around us with tantalizing offers that weave a web of materialism into the receptive fabric of our soul. “In civilised society it is the building of possessions that is the snare.”[4]   We mistakenly call things “mine” and not “His” and God is excluded from our accounts. The word of God tells us to lay up treasure in heaven not possessions on earth.[5]   “He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance, with increase.”[6]

The importance is undeniable, the value high, the stress considerable in modern society. The secret of rich people living in today’s world is to “have everything but possess nothing.” [7] Abraham is a true example of this philosophy. The offering up of Isaac was a revelation of his soul. “Everything is safe which we commit to him, and nothing is really safe which is not committed.”[8] It is expedient to give all things into his hand, including our money. Happy, blessed and a wise Christmas.

 


[1] Katherine Whitehorn (1926) British journalist. How to Survive Children

[2] Margaret Thatcher (1925) British politician and Prime Minister. Television interview, 1980

[3] Arabic proverb

[4] Shade of His Hand by Oswald Chambers page 63 pub by Marshall Morgan & Scott

[5] Matthew 6:20

[6] Ecc 5:10

[7]The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing by A. W. Tozer in Leadership Magazine Spring 1981 pg. 95

[8] Ibid. Page 96

 

 

 

 

 

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