I am currently leading a Bible study based on a book by Adam Hamilton called Enough: Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity.
With the book, Hamilton includes a prayer for contentment on a plastic key tag that can easily be kept in places as a visual reminder of what we are studying, learning, and applying to our lives. The prayer reads:
Lord, help me to be grateful for what I have, to remember that I don’t need most of what I want, and that joy is found in simplicity and generosity.
In chapter one, Hamilton observes that the American Dream has become the American Nightmare, as Americans strive to accumulate material things and do so by going deeper and deeper in debt. Jesus was tempted in this manner in Matthew 4.8-10 when Satan tempted him with the pursuit of wealth and power rather than the way of sacrificial love.
Satan is described as a thief who “comes to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10.10).
If he can get you in debt, he can make you a slave. If he can convince you to spend all you have, you’ll never offer your tithes to God, never help the poor as you could have, and never use what you do have to accomplish God’s purposes. If he can tempt you to become a slave to creditors, you will not know simplicity, generosity, or joy. He will have neutralized your effectiveness for the Kingdom and choked the gospel out of your life (22).
In the second part of John 10.10, Jesus says, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” Too often we equate the abundance of wealth and possessions as abundant life and a sign of God’s blessing.
Adam Hamilton challenges us to discover true abundant life and joy through simplicity and generosity. Hamilton’s balanced approach does not suggest that we never buy things for ourselves, but promises to grow our understanding of Christian stewardship and God’s will for our lives and living.