The Christmas Monster
Will you be content with what you have this year?
It was Christmas day, and I was staying with friends and their two young children. “Get up, get up!” came the voices of the seven year old and five year old girls, as I stumbled out to a lounge room full of presents and surprises. My eyes exploded as I saw the gifts: It was a smorgasbord of children’s entertainment. I saw brat dolls, texta sets, hair brushes, DVDs, an ipod, clothes and chocolate. There were enough presents for 3 Christmases and birthday parties combined ... did I mention the swing set? These girls had everything anyone could ever want for Christmas.
It was over the top, but at least the girls would be happy right? Wrong! It had only been 20 minutes since the wrapping came off the Wiggles DVD collection when the girls broke into a fight. Apparently, one of the girls received one less present than the other. It was hard to tell, I lost count at 14 each. Even if it was mathematically accurate and she had received one less gift, perhaps her gifts equalled the same amount of money. It didn’t matter, her sister was crying. It was worse than crying it was a crying-bawling-tantrum-throwing-hissy-fit! “It’s not fair,” she wailled. “She has more than me; I want more stuff, I WANT MORE STUFF!”. If she could see the happy children in other houses with just two gifts maybe she wouldn’t feel so cheated.
Jesus and the monster
That’s the problem with wanting more; it’s a monster. The monster of wanting more is never happy and always needs one more computer game, one new app and one more accessory. Jesus knows about the dangers of wanting more - he told us a parable about it in Luke 12:13-21.
The story is about a farmer who was rich and successful. His crops were so big that he couldn’t fit them into his sheds. He could have given away some of his crops, since he was already rich but the farmer wanted more. So he tore down his large sheds and built monster-sized sheds. He said, "once I store my crops, I can retire and enjoy life". But he wasn’t happy at the beginning of this story when he was already rich. Who thinks he’s really going to stop farming now?
The farmer says he’ll retire, but he’ll probably build an even bigger shed next year. He wants more stuff, and he won’t ever be happy because he’s feeding a monster that wants more. We’ll never know if the farmer decided to retire because he died. He died before he got to be happy.
If he could hit the rewind button and go back a week, a month or even a year would he live differently?
Would he have built the monster sheds? Would he have shared his stuff with others? Would he have chosen to live for God instead of himself?
Jesus said “Be careful and guard against all kinds of greed. Life is not measured by how much one owns” (Luke 12:15).
The monster is coming
This Christmas, the Monster is coming to your place. You’ll be tempted to want more stuff and you’ll be tempted to be jealous of what others have. You have a choice: You can store up treasure on earth, or you can store up treasure in heaven. When you’re standing before Jesus, your stuff will be more obsolete than you could ever imagine. So instead of collecting things that will be old school by the time you’re out of school, invest in making a difference for all eternity.
Jesus tells us to store up treasure in heaven instead of treasure on earth because that’s the treasure you can keep forever (Matthew 6:19-21).
Don’t feed the monster this Christmas.