“Set aside a certain number of days, during which you shall be content with the scantiest and cheapest fare, with coarse and rough dress, saying to yourself the while, ‘Is this the condition that I feared?‘ It is precisely in times of immunity from care that the soul should toughen itself beforehand for occasions of greater stress.”- Seneca, Roman Stoic philosopher, Moral Letters to Lucillius
Brian Jones concludes Chapter 8 of Finding Favor as he notes God responds to our requests for His favor in one of two ways. First, God responds through provision for our financial needs. Just as often, though, God responds by making us poorer. Thus, poverty signals God’s favor as much as wealth.
As a result, Pastor Jones wants us to consider two truths:
1. The more we consume, the more in bondage we are. Consequently, as author Joshua Becker notes on his website, BecomingMinimalist.com:
- the average American home contains 300,000 items (LA Times)
- over the past 50 years, the average size of an American homes has tripled (NPR)
- 10% of all Americans rent offsite storage
Even without considering what the Bible says, a visit to most other countries reveals something wrong with the typical American lifestyle. In addition, times of immunity from care:
- toughen the soul for times of greater stress
- help us gain perspective and feel freedom
- separate our perception of blessing from the consumption of material possessions
2. The less we own, the more freedom we have. Rather than giving us freedom, our glut of possessions steals freedom from us. As Jesus said in Matthew 6:24, “You cannot serve God and money.” And, as Pastor Jones astutely observes: “Anxiety comes when you try.”
Today’s question: How do times of immunity from care fortify you for occasions of greater stress? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “A specific, tangible sign of divine confirmation”