Here's one for American Christianity!
I just read a brief testimony from a Pharmacist who returned from a short term missionary trip with a renewed desire for living a more simplified life. I am attracted to living simply, especially after the hectic holidays have left us a bit haggard. But I think he's missed the point of simplification. He's certainly to be commended for attempting to live the more simplified life per Scriptural injunction, "To whom much is given, much is required." But his answer to this is to sell one of his four cars leaving only 3 for him and his wife. OK . . . ? He had (at writing) "tentatively sold one of our three houses (do we need that many when most of the world has none?)." So, two people have narrowed down their possessions to three cars and maybe two homes? Now, I'm not haranguing him for what he HAS done (I mention no names).
That's not my point. We all need to make steps in the right direction, even if only baby steps. Revelation comes to us in degrees to be sure. What I don't want to do is to rest satisfied that by comparison to my rich neighbors, I have really given something up, pacifying my conscience in the process. Perhaps as we look further into this new year, we could ask our Father in heaven what He would have us to do so that we might have less clutter in our lives and thus, enable ourselves to see Him more clearly. It's a spiritual "can't see the forest for the trees" kind of thing. I think Thomas 'a Kempis encapsulates this well:
This is the greatest wisdom—to seek the kingdom of heaven through contempt of the world. It is vanity, therefore, to seek and trust in riches that perish. It is vanity also to court honor and to be puffed up with pride. It is vanity to follow the lusts of the body and to desire things for which severe punishment later must come. It is vanity to wish for long life and to care little about a well-spent life. It is vanity to be concerned with the present only and not to make provision for things to come. It is vanity to love what passes quickly and not to look ahead where eternal joy abides.Life can become very distracting. We must simplify in order to really "see" what's around us, and to recognize the Christ within us, clamoring after Him and not after temporary things.
(The Imitation of Christ)
God help us.