And Jesus said to them, ‘Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.’Luke 12:15
“The Andersons” looked uncomfortable as they explained why they couldn’t give more.
“We’d like to,” Mrs. Anderson said, “but we’re getting killed with bills.” Mr. Anderson added, “We barely make ends meet.”
Swimming with stagnant wages against a tide of rising costs, millions of working families struggle to find even enough, but the Andersons’ plight is different. They are blessed with excellent jobs and generous incomes. Sadly, they fell prey to “the lie of more” that drives our consumer culture.
“The lie of more” deceives us into thinking that true happiness, true peace, true contentment is within our grasp – if we only have a little “more.” So we grasp for more stuff, more wealth, more experiences. We often end up not only drowning in debt, but also less happy, less peaceful and less content.
People of all incomes can become ensnared in “the lie of more.” In its trap we squander our abundance for scarcity. Instead of living in the freedom and joy that Jesus spoke about in John 10:10, we live in the bondage of debt and stress.
Here are some ways to free yourself from “the lie of more”:
- Pray regularly over your finances, thanking God for your income (whatever it is) and asking for wisdom and strength to live within your means.
- Use a household budgeting tool or work with a friend who is good with numbers to come up with a plan to immediately match your income with your bills.
- Develop a longer-term strategy to pay off credit cards.
- Pray over every expenditure: Is this a necessity or a want? Will this really bring me happiness? Does this fit into my budget strategy?
- Work towards a faith plan for your income, such as 10-10-80: Give away 10 percent, save 10 percent and live on 80 percent.
- Explore “financial literacy.” Perhaps you could encourage your congregation to sponsor classes!
- As you started with prayer, continue to pray regularly over your finances.
No matter what our income, our lives are fuller and richer when we confront “the lie of more” and focus on the sources of true happiness: Our loving relationship with God and neighbor.