Thursday, October 14, 2004

Got Stuff?

Glorifying God with Our Stuff: Asceticism vs. Thankfulness

I've been pondering this question for a while now... How do we bring God the most glory with regard to our possessions? Option 1: by sacrificing and living without them (asceticism), thereby showing that He is more desirable than stuff. Option 2: by enjoying and giving thanks for them, thereby showing that He is the Benevolent Giver of all good things.

I think C. S. Lewis helped me on to a preliminary answer in a quote I read yesterday. He presents us with a third option that I hadn't even considered. He writes, "Gratitude exclaims, very properly, 'How good of God to give me this.' Adoration says, 'What must be the quality of that Being whose far-off and momentary coruscations [sparkles] are like this!' One's mind runs back up the sunbeam to the sun." (Letters to Malcolm)

In other words, Lewis argues for neither asceticism nor thankfulness as the most God-honoring approach toward our stuff. He argues for turning "stuff" into vehicles for worship! Pretty cool. Here's how I think it would work...

You pick up a couple new things at Old Navy, and you're wondering how to bring God glory in your attitude. Give them away to a homeless shelter (i.e., asceticism)? Whisper a prayer of thanks every time you look in the mirror (i.e., thanksgiving)? Nope. Instead, we should savor the moment of delight in donning our new clothes and then turn to God with: "God, I really enjoy these clothes. Thanks for allowing me to purchase them. But if clothes are this cool, how much greater must You be. I know the pleasure I find in clothes is a yawn compared to the pleasure that You Yourself afford me..." And suddenly Old Navy fades (lol) and God's glory shines.

One more thought before we abandon this strain... I think that if we can really say from our heart, "God, how much greater you are than this thing," then we'll be on the path toward sacrificing our possessions at the appropriate level. When God is our treasure, all of our stuff becomes really really expendable.

Got stuff? Want to glorify God with it? View it all as a glimmer of glory from Him, and hear Him whisper: "Not all these things, but I am the desire of your soul."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for that P.J. It really made me think. Its also goes along pretty well with the Bethesda Ministry project