"When Jesus heard this, he said unto him, One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven; and come, follow me." Luke 18:22
I've shared my love for Shannan's writing with you before and her new book Falling Free has a chapter titled "Have Less" that I wish I could just copy and paste right here. Do me a favor and go buy it, will ya? (I don't earn a dime, just a shameless plug for a good book.)
Here's the thing about this whole wrestling match with money and possessions and how Jesus wants us to manage them: I really can't tell you where your lines are, and you really can't tell me.
One of my favorite quotes from the "Have Less" chapter is this: "Unfortunately ---or fortunately, depending on the day--- there's no magic number or safe zone. What this means is, we're required to keep our ears pressed against the Holy Spirit if we want to walk in his way."
How I love that picture of living with our ears pressed to the Spirit! Maybe instead of asking myself, "How much is too much?" I should be asking, "How much is enough?" and making it a personal question, one that's asked between me and God, regardless of what everyone around me is doing. When we are living with our ears pressed against the Holy Spirit rather than with a list of do's and don'ts in our hand, there is the distinct possibility that what you hear and what I hear will not be the same.
All He asks of me is that I am listening to His voice. If that means putting the cute pair of black flats for $7.99 back on the shelf because I asked "How much is enough?" and God reminded me how many shoes I had sitting at home, then I better do it.
Like so many other areas in the Christian life, the point is not, "How much can I have and still be storing treasure in Heaven?" The point is, "What is God saying to my heart; where are His lines for me?" This approach pretty much eliminates all my comparisons with those around me who have more --or less-- than I do. It takes away the excuses, the justifications, the pretenses, and leaves me standing before the One I am ultimately accountable to.
"It seems impossible that God would prefer that we let go of our excess or descend from the rungs of our handcrafted success. We prefer a message of financial prosperity, imagining a God who might allow us to be the one camel who slips through the eye of the needle. Meanwhile, Jesus warns that wherever our treasure is, that's where our heart is (Matt 6:21). In pursuit of our hearts, he reminds us that his is tethered to relationships, not things." -- Shannan Martin, Falling Free. Emphasis mine.