Monday, November 23rd, 2009
"So it goes with the man that lays up treasure for himself but is not rich toward God." (Luke 12:21)
Satan operates his wicked system in such a way that it induces people to desire things. That desire can eventually make inroads into a Christian’s life, choking the word and making it “unfruitful.” (Mark 4:19) The Bible encourages us to be content with sustenance and covering. (1 Timothy 6:8) However, many get ensnared by the Devil because they do not apply that counsel to themselves. Could it be that pride makes them feel that they must adhere to a certain lifestyle? What about us personally? Does our desire to possess things cause us to push the interests of true worship into second place? (Haggai 1:2-8) Sadly, during hard economic times, some have sacrificed their spirituality in order to maintain the standard of living to which they had grown accustomed. Such a materialistic attitude delights Satan!
(Watchtower issue: 10/1/07, 3:8, 9)
*Br Morris gave some good counsel at our Special Assembly Day on this subject...here's some of the points he mentioned:
He talked a lot about materialism...hitting it hard. He said it’s not wrong to have a house, but are you so caught up in the American dream that you HAVE to own a house? Then he went on and talked about the bursting of the 'housing bubble' and the government giving houses/mortgage loans to people who shouldn’t have had them….no verification of income or adequate income, etc. -He said many brothers and sisters got caught up in that. But two years before the bottom fell out, we had a Circuit Assembly about keeping your life simple. Those that followed Jehovah's counsel have survived so much heartache.
Then he emphasized the importance of listening to Jehovah's instruction because it's always 'timely' and is designed to benefit us if we apply it. He said: "So what about today’s counsel? -'The Time Left is Reduced' is our assembly theme…will you follow the counsel today? The way you live your life in these hard economic times shows if you are trusting in Jehovah for your necessities, or if you are trusting in yourself & your material things, and taking matters into your own hands."
Then he gave an experience of a sister he met when they were still doing circuit work. She's a middle-age sister…very faithful. She had them over for lunch to her small & simple apartment. He said he knew the sister had a nerve problem, (some type of a mental condition or anxiety disorder), but he never knew why, and didn’t ask.
Well, throughout the course of the conversation, she opened up and told them that she used to have a house prior to the apartment she was currently living in. She said she had been bent on having 'the perfect house' ...perfect decorating, perfect furniture, everything 'just so'.
She came home one night and her entire house was engulfed in flames. She lost everything. -As a result, she had a nervous breakdown and has never fully recovered. She said afterward it taught her a lesson, and she vowed NEVER to be that attached to material things again because she realized how fleeting these things are.
Then he said to the audience, "bros. and sisters, how attached to material things are you? How would you feel right now if you lost everything?"
Then he discussed the importance of daily Bible reading. He said he and his wife, (no matter where they are in the world), read their Bible every morning while they have their cup of coffee. Not together. -He said Bible reading is a personal thing. (In addition to having a family study).
He then asked for a show of hands from the audience and said: "How many of you have a cup of coffee every morning?" Almost the whole audience raised their hand. Then he said: "bros. and sisters, if you can have a cup of coffee every morning, then you can read your Bible every morning."
Also in talking about materialism, he talked about debt and credit cards. He pulled out his credit card and said "we need to have a credit card today for many things...you can't even rent a car without one. But do you know what credit cards are? Plastic anesthesia. Why is that?"
Then he went on to illustrate the point...
"Well, let’s say you need some clothes, and you go to the store to buy them knowing how much you want to spend. But you get there and the retailers, (because it’s their job) have signs allover…'2-for-1 sale' ... '50% off"…and suddenly you think, 'well, I don’t need two, but if they’re 50% off then I should probably get two for when I need them later…oh wait…I’ll get one for my husband and the kids of course.'
You walk up to the cash register, the cashier swipes the card, and guess what? Pain free. The card swipes, you feel nothing and you leave….until the bill comes. Now imagine when you go to the store, counting out the actual cash you are spending…a little more painful isn’t it? Suddenly the reality of how much you’re spending is real, and you’re feeling it."
Then he said, "Be careful with credit cards, friends. If you don’t have the cash to back up the credit card swipe, don’t spend it."