This is real religion...
My 11 year old daughter came to my wife recently with tears welling up in her eyes. "Mom, I think this year you shouldn't buy me any Christmas gifts. Instead we should give the money to feed the poor or something like that."
My wife asked why she felt this way so suddenly. Her reply, "I was reading my bible and it seems to me that the way that Jesus instructed the first Christians to live doesn't look like how we live. But, I'm really struggling with this..."
"Why," my wife inquired.
"Because I want stuff!"
Me too. I'm sorry to say that I want stuff. Maybe not like when I was a child. And certainly not because I have everything that could be had. Simply because I see new and shiny things, and I want them.
I DON'T think we should aspire to asceticism or self-denial as a means of pleasing God. I DO think we should seek ways to obey God that demonstrate that He is bigger than our desire for the things of this world.
And I hope that I can sincerely feel the tug and tension that my daughter feels. To want to put the needs of others before my own.
Pastor Craig Groeschel once asked, "Does your heart break over the things that break God's heart?"
That's a great question...