ever more

It’s not that stuff is bad. But when loving stuff outweighs our love for God, then there’s trouble with a capital “T”. We live in a society where more is never enough. Regardless of how wealthy, well-off, or worshipped one may be, more is the mantra of the age. Is that true for you? How content are you with what you have, who God made you and what God gave you?

We tend to value material things much more than we value character. The intangibles like virtue and integrity have been lost in a quest for more. Character has been compromised for the sake of more “likes” on Facebook, Instagram, Vine or whatever social app you want to name. I wouldn’t even be able to guess where “holiness” rates on the more “like” scale. The fact is that “more” affects us more than we think it does. Whether it’s more stuff or more “likes” or “favorites” or “follows” or “retweets” or money or success or sex or popularity or freedom or…you fill in the blank, it will never be enough.

John D. Rockefeller, the great philanthropist and oil tycoon was once asked: “how much money is enough money?” His reply? “Just a little bit more”. Isn’t it true of everything in life? We think what we want is what we want until we get it and then we want more. Getting more often creates a vacuum, an insatiable hunger and desire within us, that is nearly untamable. How can we slake our craving for more?

Pray First.

It seems silly to even say it but we often minimize prayer. When the “more monster” begins to growl, spend a few moments in prayer. Ask God if the more you are desiring is from Him and for Him or is it just for you to consume and enjoy? Is it to satisfy your selfish desires or is it to use for His glory? Often “more” is the very thing that drives a wedge between us and everyone else in our lives, especially God.

Practice Patience.

Living in a credit based society, we can take “more” to a whole different level. All we have to do is put it on a credit card. Many are regretting this way of life now as they suffer under a load of debt for which they can barely make minimum payments.  Taking some time and not buying immediately allows the opportunity for prayer, the overview of “need versus want” and an objective look at cash flow to be evaluated. Being patient with seeking “more” teaches us valuable lessons in using what we have, appreciating the cost and work in obtaining “more”. Being patient can also save us costly interest down the road.

Look For The Void.

Whatever the “more” in your life is, it is there because of some void within. The quest for “more” is often punctuated by the emptiness inside. Sadly, that’s something that “more” will never satisfy. Take some time when the “more monster” begins to raise his head and look for the void. Ask yourself why you feel compelled to have more/need more? What is it that “more” makes you feel or think about yourself? How does “more” affect your relationships with others?

Latch Onto Less.

As leaders, the “more monster” can be power, or a larger congregation or bigger ministry. Remember the words of John The Baptist? John said: He must increase and I must decrease. John learned what it meant to latch onto “less”, even as his own disciples were abandoning him for Jesus. The thrust of John’s message was “more of Christ” less of “me”. Paul was also one that learned to latch onto less and here’s what he said about it:

 I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.  I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. Philippians 4:11

The secret that Paul is talking about is contentment. When it all comes down, we are not happy with our lives, with ourselves, or with God and therefore we want “more”. Paul would have us understand that “more” is not going to make us content. But contentment will make us joyful.

Look At What You Got.

Failure to truly take time to see and appreciate what we have is another issue that creates the “more monster”. Taking daily time to be thankful for all we have will go a long way in killing that monster that craves more. People who want “more” seldom realize all they have in the first place. Their focus is not on what they have but rather what they don’t have.

Don’t Compare.

Finally I would suggest that people who struggle with “more” do so most because they are comparing themselves with so many others. Again living in the kind of world we live in makes this very easy to do. Fifty years ago we only had to keep up with the Jones’ down the street but now we have to keep up with the Jones’, Smiths, and a host of others from around the world. Comparing our lives with others will always leave us with angst.

What we must realize is that true joy and satisfaction comes not by getting “more” but allowing Christ to have “more” of us.  As we hold onto little by little until there’s nothing “more” we find true peace. Living in this truth helps us grasp that “never more” is “always enough” in Christ.

Final thought: letting go of “more” is not getting less but actually getting it all.

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