Some more thoughts from Beyond Greed
This version of the book has extra articles at the end of the chapters by different Christian writers which I have also been enjoying. One by Carmelina Read has this paragraph;
“We say we believe in Jesus. We say that matter isn’t all that matters. But at the same time we own just as much as our neighbours. We spend just as much time worrying about our possessions as our neighbours do. We’ve got the same dreams and goals as our non-Christian neighbours. We still spend the majority of our time working for a successful career. Like our pagan neighbours we spend most of our money on our houses, our cars, our kid’s education, our holidays, our overseas trips, our superannuation, investments, nice clothes and furniture.”
That really challenged me. Am I really different? Am I living as a shining light in a dark world? Or am I letting the concerns of the world snuff out my light? (That metaphor doesn't read very well - but you know what I mean)
When hours at work were cut back I complained just as much as my non-christian workmates. When I got my tax return I thought immediately of what I could spend it on for me. I still spend alot of time looking through junk mail and catalogues deciding which top I like better and what DVD I want to buy next. I sit with my uni friends and worry with them about how I'm going to make the money I have stretch to what I want, while wasting it on junk food and soft drinks.
One thing this book has challenged me to do is start a budget. I always thought it would be too hard because I don't have a fixed income. But it only takes 10 minutes every fortnight to work out what amount goes where. I let myself have a small amount per week, put a bit into savings and give the rest away. By writing down exactly what I spend my 'allowance on I can see where it goes and I know when it's gone, it's gone so I'm more careful about spending it.
I realise I can go without a lot of the things I thought I needed. I'm trying to learn that;
Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. (1 Timothy 6:6-8)
(Photo: Michelle Dennis 2008 )