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A New Language
Theme of the Week: Freedom from Stuff
Friday, March 7, 2014

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Key Bible Verse: If we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. (1 Timothy 6:8, NIV)

Dig Deeper: 1 Timothy 6:6-10

Paul [is saying], "Timothy, do not become obsessed with gathering things around yourself that you cannot keep. Remember this when you stroll through the massive shopping district of Ephesus. Recall this as boats unload their goods in the harbor. Don't be seduced by the empty promise that another purchase will complete you. It won't and it can't. Find your life in the Giver and not in his gifts."

The virtue of contentment is utterly liberating. It frees us from the illusion that a purchase can take away our loneliness, fill our emptiness, or heal our brokenness. Speaking for his team, Paul proclaims [in today's Key Bible Verse], "If we have food and clothing, we will be content with that." Now, there's a challenge. With something to wear and something to eat, I will be content.

As I reflect on these words, I feel as if I'm listening to a foreign language. Because we live in a consumer culture powered by relentless advertising, Paul's words sound almost strange or even wrong. But there is also something in his reflection that feels incredibly freeing. Liberating. We have become enslaved to our stuff and the road to freedom will require a new language. The language of the contented, satisfied life.

—Jeff Manion in Satisfied

My Response: What are some of the false messages advertisers present to me? How can I combat the pull of consumerism and embrace the freedom of contentment?

Thought to Apply: Be happy with what you have and are, be generous with both, and you won't have to hunt for happiness.—William E. Gladstone (British politician)

Adapted from Satisfied by Jeff Manion (Zondervan, 2014) by permission. All rights reserved by the copyright holder and/or the publisher. May not be reproduced.

Prayer for the Week
Heavenly Father, keep me from getting caught up in a consumer mentality, collecting stuff for stuff's sake. Help me to spend less on myself and my wants so that I might have more to give to others.

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