While shopping for our youngest granddaughter’s birthday gift, I wandered around the toy store for over two hours. Why?
Living in the United States where our culture lends itself toward having more than enough, I couldn’t think of anything my granddaughter didn’t already have.
Texting back and forth with her mother: “yes, she has that, and yes, her big sister has that,” and so on. Finally, her mom thought of something. “She doesn’t have any Barbie dolls, and she likes playing with them at her other grandmother’s home.” Bingo!
While searching for deals and modestly-dressed Barbies, I was somewhat pleased with my find. Buy one, get one half price. Great! Now I could get two Barbies and stay within my budget.
Here’s a few of my thoughts, however, that ran through my mind during and following my lengthy shopping experience.
- Worship that doesn’t cost me something isn’t true worship. (I heard this statement the night prior, spoken by Dr. Ravi Zacharias.) I believe God’s Spirit was reminding me to refrain from frivolous spending when so many in the world have so little.
- Why am I spending so much time picking out a gift for my granddaughter? (Feeling a bit uneasy (convicted) while wasting so much time on material possession.)
- Shouldn’t I purchase a more meaningful gift, from a Christian bookstore?
- Little Anré probably doesn’t even have one doll, let alone two. I met Anré (about 3 years old), during a mission trip. I keep her photo in my living room as a reminder of how little some have compared to all that I have.
Most recently, someone shared a quote with me from John Wesley. “Make all you can, save all you can, give all you can.” Tweaking my interest, I did a little research, disclosing a bit of reasoning behind this quote. Here’s what I learned:
While at Oxford, an incident changed Charles Wesley’s perspective on money. He had just finished paying for some pictures for his room when one of the chambermaids came to his door. It was a cold winter day, and he noticed that she had nothing to protect her except a thin linen gown. He reached into his pocket to give her some money to buy a coat but found he had too little left. Immediately, the thought struck him that the Lord was not pleased with the way he had spent his money. He asked himself, Will thy Master say, “Well done, good and faithful steward?” Thou hast adorned thy walls with the money which might have screened this poor creature from the cold! O justice! O mercy! Are not these pictures the blood of this poor maid? Perhaps as a result of this incident, in 1731, Wesley began to limit his expenses so that he would have more money to give to the poor.
To read this article in its entirety:
About Money – John Wesley
An article written by Charles Edward White, assistant professor, Christian thought and history Spring Arbor (Michigan) College http://www.missionfrontiers.org/issue/article/what-wesley-practiced-and-preached-about-money
Another quote that helps me keep an eternal perspective:
“Little is much when God is in it.”
For further study: Jesus Feeds the 5000 (with a little boy’s sack lunch), John 6:1-14
Materialism: A tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values.
Children’s values form early as they observe the daily choices/actions of their parents.
More from the article, About Money – Parenthesis added are mine.
Wesley especially warned against buying too much for children. People who would never waste money on themselves might be more indulgent with their children (and grandchildren). On the principle that gratifying a desire needlessly only tends to increase it, he asked these well-intentioned parents: “Why should you purchase for them more pride or lust, more vanity or foolish and hurtful desires? …Why should you be at further expense to increase their temptations and snares and to pierce them through with more sorrows?”