We’ve all got them. They are different scales, different subjects. We keep them in the tops of closets, stored in boxes under beds, stacked neatly (or not so neatly!) around our workbench. We brag to our friends about them, we even take pictures of them and post them on the net. Now, we do have grand plans for them: I’ll build that one just like the one in that magazine, this one’s for that friend who used to fly them in the military, and that one, that one is for this awesome diorama idea I’ve had for sometime.
I am of course, talking about our “stash” of un-built kits. For some, it seems they have become the object of our hobby. We collect, and collect until we’ve more planned-builds than completed builds. And, to a certain extent collecting is part of the hobby. But, it can become a search for a sense of accomplishment, a search for satisfaction, or even a “just because I can” mindset. I submit it is on these occasions that our hobby allows materialism to creep in. As we near the Christmas season, the temptation for materialism to begin to “drive the bus”, so to speak, is greater now than at any other time during the year.
God’s Word speaks about this subject. 1 Timothy 6: 6-10 says,
“6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
There are three principals in this text I would like to point out that can help us focus on living the Gospel, and avoid materialism this Christmas.
First, we need to realize that “stuff” is temporary. Look back at verse 7. We came into the world with nothing and that is exactly what we can take out of this world…nothing. Friends, there is a reason that hearses don’t have trailer hitches. What we have on this side of life is on loan, and God calls us to be faithful stewards with all of it…even our “stash”. What we do is so much more important than what we have, because stuff is temporary, but our actions have eternal implications.
Second, admit the difference between what you want and what you need. Verse 8 says that godly contentment requires very little. Our lives are fraught with things that the world tells us we need. Have you ever noticed that the more time-saving conveniences that are invented, the more crammed our day becomes? Friends we actually need very little. Try this; sometime in the near future, take a moment and consider what you have that is absolutely necessary to sustain life. Here’s a hint; if your final list occupies more than a line or two of notebook paper, you need to start over, and this time get serious.
Third, closely examine what you are willing to do to get “more”. In our text, Paul states clearly that our desire for stuff can prove deadly to our spiritual and/or physical well-being. Note that he utters some of the most familiar words in the Bible, “…money is the root of all kinds of evil.” That’s the way most know the text, but look closer. Paul actually says that the love of money is at the heart of the matter. Why do we love money? Because it affords stuff. Our desire for more cash to pay for stuff we don’t need, and that can’t go with us when we die can rob us of precious family time, cause stress-related illnesses, and most importantly, it can choke our relationship with God.
Watch yourself closely this Christmas. When you feel materialism creeping in, pray the prayer of Proverbs 30:7-9 “O God, I beg two favors from you; let me have them before I die. First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.”
Finally, sit in front of your “stash”. Carefully select one (or perhaps two or more) kits and…wait for it… give them away. Take them to a children’s hospital. Send them to troops overseas. Donate them to Operation Santa Claus, or the Salvation Army. Strike materialism with the love of Christ before it strikes you.
Friends, this season is about a precious Gift that is offered to all. It wasn’t selected from a list, or from myriad gifts on a shelf. It was given out of the only pure love to have ever existed…that is the love that God has for you, His Creation. He won’t force you to take the Gift, nor will He passively impart It to you. You must come of your own accord and accept this Gift. It is, of course, the Gift of eternal life that is provided to us through the life, death, and the spiritual and physical resurrection of God’s only Son, Jesus Christ. Here’s some more information to help you understand that Gift, and why we all need it. If you have questions, if you make a decision to accept that Gift, or if you simply come to a realization that you need to accept this Gift, please contact us.
David Willis modeled intermittently as a child, but got heavily involved in the early 90’s, sparked by the Sierra Games WWII flight simulator, “Aces of the Pacific”. Modeling took a back seat to seminary for the past 8 years, but he is back now with a vengeance! Preferring WWII subjects, David models aircraft and armor with equal ineptitude.
David is a United Methodist pastor, and a Registered Nurse, living and serving in Southeast Alabama. He is married to his Nurse Practitioner wife, Phyllis, and is proud father of Christopher and Sam.