Spend Less

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Scripture: Matthew 6:19-24

The Lament: Advent Conspiracy Official Explainer  by Advent Conspiracy

Take it Further: “Advent: More Than a Season”  by Terre Lucas

Misty Copeland, a premier ballet dancer with the American Ballet Theatre, recently offered advice to other dancers who desire to excel. Her advice covers the importance of working out correctly; repetition isn’t necessarily the best thing, but rather building physical strength and maintaining complete focus. She attributes these practices to her ability to control her back and hip muscles, thus making her an exquisite dancer. The graceful placement of a ballet dancer’s arms and feet in a port de bras become even more evident when performed with a stable core. She said, “It appears there’s so much movement, but it’s actually really minimal. It just looks so clear because nothing else is moving. Without using as much energy, you can do more.” Misty Copeland was speaking of spending less.

Definitions of the word spend include, to exhaust, wear out, to consume wastefully, and to squander. These terms rightly apply to how we expend energy during this season of good cheer. But for Christians, this should be more than a season of good cheer. It is the season in which we celebrate the birth of Christ, our savior. This advent season marks a new beginning, one in which I’m examining how I can spend less, now and throughout my life.

Though I know nothing of Ms. Copeland’s beliefs, she is putting the Word into play. I need to isolate and strengthen my center (Gal. 2:20). Physically, my back and hips affect my mobility and balance. Spiritually, those core muscles represent the declaration of who I am, what I believe, and my willingness to live those things out in healthy ways. If people are to see “Jesus showing up in my life,” I declare I will work out correctly behind the scenes. I’ll prioritize the time I spend in communion with Christ (Psa. 63:1). I will strengthen my character by nurturing the Holy Spirit within me (Gal. 5:22–23) and maintain complete focus on God’s chief commandments to love Him, first, and then others, as I love myself (Mark 12:30–31).

A declaration called the disciples to reimage a wooden crucifix as a cross and unite Jews and Gentiles. A declaration called an Israeli artist to reimage teargas canisters as Christmas ornaments that are sold all over the world. My country is still reeling from an era where trees were reimaged as a showcase for “strange fruit.” What is my role in healing that? How can I reimage transformative justice in my community? I must do so with godly intentionality.

This Advent season, I intend to give more and spend less. Quality life experiences with those around me demand that I spend less. Minimal movements born of deliberate practices will gracefully glorify God. Giving such as this costs little more than the time it takes to deepen my walk with the Lord. A posture of loving-kindness then flows naturally to others from within—even to those who challenge us, for grace is kindness undeserved. Now is the time, be still. Dance a grace-filled kindness that cannot wait.

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We’d love to hear from you. Please share with us below your thoughts and insight. We would love to see Take it Further be a place where as a community we dialog, and together we all take the conversation further.

*Note: If you wish, you can look up this and other Bible passages online at youversion.com
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