Tuesday, December 18

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Experiencing God as Joy: Consumerism
Scripture: Galatians 5:22-23

“By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.”

When my husband and I were younger, with two small children and a big mortgage, he was laid off from work. I was staying home with the children so our income promptly dropped to zero. We went into emergency financial mode, spending only on necessities. No eating out, no going to the movies, no travel, no shopping except for the basics.

It’s surprising how fondly I remember that year of our lives. We visited with friends, we read books, we hiked a lot, we got out our old things and repurposed them, we cooked together, we gave token gifts. The most memorable gifts from that time were the Easter presents for the kids: two hermit crabs (59 cents each) that they named Jellybean and Crab Louis. My husband and I supported each other even more than usual, and the kids were at least as happy as they always had been.

Within a year my husband had another job, so we were lucky. I have complete sympathy and utmost respect for those folks who have true financial hardship. The lesson I learned from that time is that being an American consumer can really stand in the way of those beautiful gifts—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control—that God wants for us.

God of joy, give us the courage to resist the pervasive culture of consumerism. Help us to remember that an abundant life has very little to do with what we own. Amen.

~Linda Besen