Key Bible Verses: "Store up your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy them, and thieves cannot break in and steal them. Your heart will always be where your treasure is." (Matthew 6:20-21, CEV)
While on a brief trip to a children's hospital in the Dominican Republic, a woman visits a family whose child will soon undergo surgery. Their cinderblock house is windowless. Six people reside in the space roughly the size of a one-stall garage. An ensemble of plastic molded chairs comprises the furniture. Then there is the flight home and reentrance to her house—the house she felt was simple and modest just eight days before. Suddenly she awakens to the opulence of her "simplicity." The trip does not induce guilt as much as offer a healthy reality check.
Excursions like this provide the opportunity to recast our categories for wealth, simplicity, and shortage. A door is opened, allowing us to see our stuff in a new light and to wonder what motivations drive us to amass the things that pile up around us.
As a professing Christian, I have the responsibility to consider my buying habits, not simply as a middle-class American, but as a Jesus follower. As one who allegedly follows the Christ, what claim does Jesus have on my wallet? What does it mean to think Christianly about the stuff that fills my closet, garage, and basement? How does the one I call "Lord" intend to reshape my attitudes toward spending, accumulating, and giving?