Less is More

Greetings from San Antonio. I must apologize for missing a sermon here and there. My heart, cholesterol, and blood pressure medications are having a HUGE (negative) impact on my life. At this point, it is difficult to stay awake for even a few hours and my memory suffers from medication fog. Not sure what the secular answer is, but I KNOW God is with me and the challenge is just another stepping stone to heaven.

In the meantime, I am doing something called the Boston Heart Test tomorrow which will tell us WHAT exactly is producing cholesterol from carrots in my body and how this cholesterol is being absorbed. Since my diet is extremely low in fat, cholesterol, sodium, and sugar with limited carbs, something is going wrong inside. Let us all pray this test enables us to shoot down this problem with the precision of a 22-caliber bullet, instead of the current shotgun approach being taken by concerned, but confused doctors. I will not be able to live with these medication side effects for long, nor the artery-clogging cholesterol, so an answer must be found! Now on to our sermon…

This week I would like to explain how owning less stuff equates to a higher quality of life. This is especially important because most people think more is better and preferred. More of what you ask? Material things…

Most people seek to fill the emptiness inside of them with more. More vacations, more cars, more “toys.” (RV, boat, jet ski, houses, etc.) You know, “stuff.” Others fill the emptiness with more drugs, alcohol, exercise, thrill-seeking adventures, and dreams of a better life than God has given them. God has a pretty simple answer and scripture to this mistake. Matthew 6:19-21:

Treasures in Heaven

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your HEART will be also.”

I believe this scripture paints a pretty clear picture of where true treasure is found! In heavenly thoughts and things. However it also tells us that people can see what we worship by looking at what we seek to gain. If we want more and more material things, then that shows God and man where our heart lies. Selfishness. I think of it like this:

If I enjoy eating steak every night while others eat nothing, then I have completely missed the meaning of (our church scripture motto) Matthew 25:35-45:

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?”

 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

“Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.”

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?”

“He will reply, Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”

This is not to say that you should not enjoy the blessings that our Lord has generously given you, however, you are blessed to be a blessing. If you enjoy living a life full of earthly material things but neglect to care for others less fortunate, then you are missing God’s desire for your life, heart, mind, and soul. I call it showing humanity.

If we do not care for our brothers and sisters in a caring, loving, and generous way, then it tells God everything about our hearts. What you do for others shows where your heart lies. If you are willing to take all the blessings and not share them with others, then your heart is likely cold and full of greed.

There is another reason why God tells us to store up heavenly treasures and that is because it improves our quality of life on earth. My mother always used to say “You don’t own things; things own you!” She was right even though I didn’t always understand what she meant. Here is a list of More and what that creates in your life and a list of Less and what that creates in your life.

More: Worry, stress, upkeep, expenses, and worst of all, your focus is on material things that “rust and disintegrate” in a minute! There is no eternal salvation in more, just a diversion of your thoughts on how to care for a bunch of useless “stuff.” It takes time away from church and meditating on the Bible. It diverts your mind from what is truly important. Giving!

Less: Frees your time, money, thoughts, and energy so you can enjoy life without fretting over how to care for all your “stuff.” It gives you freedom to enjoy life and happiness when you share your blessings with others rather than bless yourself with another “reward.”

I wish I could say I always understood this concept of less is more, but that isn’t true. I was probably the most materialistic person born on this earth, however as I have matured in Christ and in my soul, I have learned where true happiness lies. It is when I make another person happy or make sure a child isn’t hurting, hungry or cold. It no longer gives me joy to buy another car or a new toy. Each thing I own is a responsibility that requires care and upkeep, yet handing out food, clothing, or just giving someone a smile and hug requires nothing other than what I am giving at that moment.

After I do such things, I glow inside. I feel happy and fulfilled in a way that a new car or house or anything I could purchase would ever make me feel. Sure, there may be a momentary “high” but it doesn’t last like knowing I made a difference in the life of another person.

Many people waste their entire lives trying to fill up the emptiness we all invariably feel by acquiring a new toy, going on an exciting adventure, or treating themselves to new clothes, purses, or shoes. Maybe a shiny new diamond makes you happy, but what does it do other than collect dust most of the time? How long does that “glow” last? Not very long and then you are out seeking the next exciting thing!

True happiness and fulfillment come from that smile you receive when you are generous and kind. It fills up the hole in your heart, even when that hole is there from grieving and loss. If you need to focus on more, then consider GIVING more and owning less. Talk to anyone who has given up most of their material things to downsize and live in a peaceful place. They will tell you that “stuff” never brought them happiness, but that they suddenly feel “free” when they trade material things for a fulfilling life/lifestyle.

I urge you to think about how your life might change if you were less focused on acquiring “stuff” and more focused on collecting smiles. Think about what God means when He exhorts us to collect up heavenly treasures and not be so blinded that we think owning another material thing will finally bring us that evasive happiness we seek. A life filled with less “stuff” and more loving (giving and receiving) is a life filled with treasures from heaven. A valuable life worth living…

If you enjoyed this sermon check out our others here or if you have questions please send us a message.

Love, hugs, and blessings, Lisa ><>

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