The virtue of material modesty

This week we’re wrestling with worry. After all, if we don’t find a way to take it down, it will gladly do so to us!

Today’s idea goes hand-in-hand with what we’ve talked about already—about rooting yourself in the voice of Christ, about using a worry filter, and about practicing gratitude proactively.

Here it is: Cultivate the virtue of material modesty.

In Matthew 6:19-21 Jesus says, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Did you see that last line? If you prioritize “treasures on earth” that’s where your heart will be. In other words, that’s where your primarily loyalty will be.

In contrast, cultivating the virtue of material modesty draws our hearts away from things like clothes, gadgets and houses that are excessively fancy, and brings us back to a simpler trust and contentment under God.

The more we accumulate and value stuff, the more worried we become about our stuff, and about keeping our stuff, and about adding to our stuff, and about people who “break in” and “steal” all our stuff away from us!

And then there’s this. The more extravagant and opulent our lives, homes, gadgets and clothes become, the more distracted we are from pursuing “treasures in heaven.”

So here’s a good question to ask ourselves: Is what I’m buying, and how I’m dressing, and how I’m spending my money, in the service of God’s kingdom and righteousness… or of MY kingdom and MY reputation? 

After telling his disciples to trust God for their needs, and to first seek his kingdom and righteousness, Jesus said, “do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Can I get an Amen?

Trust God to provide for your daily needs. Seek treasures in heaven. And cultivate the virtue of material modesty so you don’t get too attached to the wrong kind of shimmer and shine.

By Matthew Ruttan

–This Sunday I’m offering Part 1 in an in-depth series on Jesus’ Parable of the Sower. It’s called “Crop.” Check out this 1-minute YouTube video about what to expect.
–Bibles quotes are from the NIV.

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