“Glory to the One whose power working in us can do far more than we can ask or imagine.” – Ephesians 3:20
The last time I moved, like the time before, I discarded a ton of stuff that should’ve been tossed during the McKinley administration. I learned again what a wretched acquisitive materialist I am. I vowed never again, again.
The day after the move, I went shopping. New digs require a trip to the mall, no? Seduced by late summer sales, I quickly replaced with new things all the old things I’d discarded.
So when I’m told that God’s power will do “abundantly far more than we can ask or imagine,” I wax a bit facetious. God exceeds what we ask for? Gives what we never even thought to want? Where will I put it all? Har har.
Of course, if in fact I had nothing to my name except God’s ‘far more,’ I’d be less flippant. And if I stopped joking about God’s generosity and started practicing it, the world, including me, would be better off.
Stripping down is a good discipline. But don’t bank on it to make you pure. Unless you’re an angel, a Trappist, or a lily of the field, sooner or later you’ll have stuff again. Is God enough? Yes, and we could use a new rug for the den. Isn’t God all we desire? Yes, and don’t you just love the new spring green Kitchen Aid mixer?
You don’t fight materialism with anti-materialism any more than you fight obesity with starvation. What works is generosity—like God’s—toward yourself, other people, and the earth.
Spare me the yo-yo of anti-materialism, O God. Just let your power working in me make me more generous than I could ever ask or imagine.
Mary Luti is Interim Senior Pastor, Wellesley Village Church, Wellesley, Massachusetts.