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A0389_Meet the Frugals

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Date:      15th June 2008                                                                        (Sunday AM)                                                                       Ref: A0389

Place:     Kambah P.S.

Title: Meet The Frugals

Text:        & 1 Timothy 6:6-10

Illust:     Meet the Frugals. This is the generation who were born in the 1920s and early 1930s and who are today aged over 76.  ~ Unlike their consumerist and some say wastrel baby-boomer children, the Frugals are careful with their money.  They were surrounded by catastrophe: their birth was preceded by the Great War and succeeded by the Great Depression.  During their Depression-ravaged childhood the Frugals forged and honed the skills required to survive in a hostile world. This training was put into good effect the following decade with the advent of war and war rationing.  Many Frugals were 30-something before their economic circumstances improved. But by then it was all too late; they were frugal by name and frugal by nature.[1]

I.                   Consumer Society

A.               Who Needs a Shilling

i.                 We live in a very different society than 100 years ago. – We live in a Consumer Society, we consume resources, items, food at an incredible rate. – In Sydney, last couple of days went into Westfield Parramatta – 512 stores – Oppressive, Materialism; How many clothing stores do you need?

      (By comparison the Tuggeranong Hyperdome has 170 stores & the Canberra Centre has 300)

ii.               We are not even close to living like the Frugals, totally alien lifestyle.

                 Read a book written in the 1950’s about the turn of the previous century, & over & over the author whenever he mentions that he has a shilling – (aprox 10c) he makes the statement like ‘that’s when a shilling was important’ – 10c today is small loose change, not that long ago it was valuable. You could live for a year on 26 pound.

iii.             According to one author our consumer economy did not exist prior to 1900 and so as the century developed this consumer society developed, with tragic consequences.

      The development of consumer societies meant the erosion of the traditional values and attitudes of thrift and prudence. Expanding consumption was necessary to create markets for the fruits of rising production. Ironically this “required the nurture of qualities like wastefulness, self-indulgence, and artificial obsolescence, which directly negated or undermined the values of efficiency” and the Protestant Ethic that had originally nurtured capitalism.[2]

iv.             This consumer society has led to a great deal of waste. According to Consuming Australia, a 2007 report by the Australian Conservation Foundation, at least $10.5 billion was spent nationally each year on things that were not used, including about $5.3 billion on wasted food. – Not just a good lifestyle but a lifestyle of excess & Waste.

B.               Roots

i.                 Economists like to come up with economic theories of how the Industrial revolution increased the production capacity of industry & therefore to use that capacity, the workers had to become consumers. Nice theories, probably accurate, but tell only half the story.

ii.               When you boil it all down, what the advertisers have managed to do is get people to believe that who they are, their personal identity, intrinsic worth as a person, is intimately linked to what they own. – Article from Canadian magazine:

      What we need to see is that consumption is not about conformity, it’s about distinction. People consume in order to set themselves apart from others. To show that they are cooler (Nike shoes), better connected (the latest nightclub), better informed (single-malt Scotch), morally superior (Guatemalan handcrafts), or just plain richer (bmws).[3]

iii.             It used to be that we said we compared ourselves to our neighbours ‘The Jones’ – At least as our neghbours they would have had roughly the same sort of income. The problem today is that the friends that many compare themselves too are these ideal, money is no object friends on TV or the movies. – People with incomes multiple times that of our own.  – At it’s root is an incredible deep seated insecurity that draws you into a never ending cycle of dissatisfaction and short term gratification.

      Although we are told that having more money and consuming more will make us happy, the truth is that this sort of society can reproduce itself each day only by making us feel dissatisfied with what we have. It has to make us feel deprived and restless and always yearning for more. In this way it creates new wants for the next thing — a plasma TV, a bigger house, a better-paying job. In such a society our happiness depends on us being made to feel unhappy.[4]

II.                 Covetousness

A.               Vanity

i.                 But there’s more to it than just insecurity. – It actually aims at the core of our sinful human nature & is rebellion against one of the 10 Commandments. Something considered by God so important that it is one of the 10 big ones.

         Exodus 20:17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.” (NKJV)

ii.               Keeping up with the Jones’ is actually the sin of covetousness. – It is the desiring for yourself of what is someone else’s. – If I had that then I would be happy. No you wouldn’t.

         Ecclesiastes 5:10 He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; Nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity. (NKJV)

                 Jesus warned specifically against this tendency we all have

         Luke 12:15 And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” (NKJV)

iii.             This is the complete opposite of all the marketing hype that we are pushed day in & day out. The advertiser’s motto is; Your life does consist in the abundance of things you possess, Jesus says that’s wrong, it is covetous to think that way, it is sin & you must be on guard against it

B.               Destructive

i.                 Why is Jesus so strong in exhorting us to guard against this, why is wanting things that bad that it is one of the 10 things we must not do. – Violation of the 1st Commandment.

         Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before Me. (NKJV)

ii.               Money, the acquiring of possessions becomes a god, something you devote your time, your emotions, energy, passion & worship towards. – All consuming – ‘I must have’, even if it means getting into debt & maxing out the plastic.

                 People single minded focus on wealth, - I know numbers, women in particular in the IT industry. Have money but are lonely. – Pursued career over relationship & family:

         Ecclesiastes 4:8 There is one alone, without companion: He has neither son nor brother. Yet there is no end to all his labors, Nor is his eye satisfied with riches. But he never asks, “For whom do I toil and deprive myself of good?” This also is vanity and a grave misfortune. (NKJV)

iii.             As we have seen, indeed as we know from our own experience; this is an insatiable master, we are never satisfied, the shine/gloss soon wears off, & we are left with a bill still to pay. Ultimately this is destructive: - & vs.9-10

         Philippians 3:19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame— who set their mind on earthly things. (NKJV)

III.              Be Content

A.               What is the Answer?

      Socks were darned. Excuse me for a moment while I explain this novel concept to anyone born after 1980: to "darn" a sock means to patch it with a needle and woollen thread.  Get this, Generation Y, you don't throw stuff away because it's got a hole in it or because it's, like, totally unfashionable!  Frugals bought new clothes only when their old clothes could not be mended. "Best" clothes were worn to church or on other special occasions. All family members were drilled to turn off the light when leaving a room, not to save the environment from global warming but to save money. 

i.                 We could learn a lot from the Frugals but the most important thing is contentment.

      Australia's fast-dwindling Frugals are happy in retirement. They make little or no demand on the national budget because many (though by no means all) think they're rich on the pension.

ii.               This is the essence of our text this AM. & vs 6-8 – Being content; sufficient, enough. Interesting in the Gk it also carries the though of a barrier, to ward off. – What does contentment ward off? ~  Covetousness

iii.             The call to be content with what you have. Do you have food & clothing? Be content. – By all means work, labour, be diligent, but not just chasing after enough money to have the next thing. – Be content

         Ecclesiastes 4:6 Better a handful with quietness Than both hands full, together with toil and grasping for the wind. (NKJV)

B.               Great Gain

i.                 Rather pursue godliness. Our call as Christians is to constantly be on guard against the covetous spirit of this age that we live. You need to take stock & ask yourself am I pursuing God & the things of God or am I pursuing the things of this world. Am I content?

ii.               The amazing thing is that godliness & being content is what actually brings about the  ‘great gain’ that so many are chasing down the wrong rabbit hole for. & vs 6. megas – large, spacious, numerous, abundant. – Mega gain -

         Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (NKJV)

                 When you seek after God 1st, He takes care of the rest. Abundantly.

         2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. (NKJV)

iii.             His presence is worth more than anything else. Beware covetousness, be frugal

         Hebrews 13:5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (NKJV)

IV.             Altar Call


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[1] http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,23728122-5007146,00.html

[2] http://www.uow.edu.au/arts/sts/sbeder/consumerism.html

[3] http://www.timlonghurst.com/blog/tag/consumer-behaviour/

[4] http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=2943

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