Can you spend a week without spending money?

In our church, whoever preaches on Sunday, writes up a little devotion for further study and reflection.  Here is my last sermon and some additional thoughts.  Enjoy!

Encounter:  Read Matthew 6:24

I have loved this series examining our inner life as we conduct a spiritual inventory of our souls.  For the most part, I long to move towards Christ.  But I want to do it on my timetable, at my pace.  Most of the questions we have been asking are pretty subjective and on a sliding scale.  But this week we have a real life, a daily test that confronts us at every turn.

When we allow how we spend money to be an indicator of spiritual health and growth we set ourselves up to examine our motives, to wrestle with our inner life, and evaluate the health of our souls every few hours throughout our day. 

Money, wealth, material possessions, for some reason, are deeply connected to our souls.  Scripture talks about these things over 800 times.  There is something to our relationship with mammon that is in total conflict with our relationship with God.  

God longs to be King of our lives, to be a protector, provider, comforter, and where we find our true identity.  In neutral, we allow money and the things money can buy to usurp God.  By taking a fast from spending money, we are confronted with asking these deeper questions every time we are hungry, bored, anxious, lonely, insecure, or simply need a dopamine rush.  

A podcaster that I have learned a lot from over the years is Carey Nieuwhof.  And a few years ago he spent an entire year abstaining from spending money.  Here is his reflection.  I think it is really interesting, and some good food for thought.

REFLECTION: How has that been not spending money?  What are you learning about your inner life? Are you seeing a pattern? What is the core wound you are looking for money, material goods to heal you?  What has it been like to allow Jesus more space to be the one who heals those core wounds or insecurities?

BE A BLESSING: Would you consider taking the money you would have spent on frivolous things this week to cope with whatever is going on in your life, bundle it up, and give it away to someone?

BE TOGETHER: I have already found, halfway through this week that so much of my time together with people is out and about buying meals and coffee.  If I don't spend money, then I am inviting people to my home.  It is pretty old skool but knits our hearts together in deeper ways.  Would you consider hanging at home and practicing hospitality as a way to bless your people as you attempt to fast from spending money?

What a brutal challenge this week!  Good luck.