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Unlearning Our Culture

An Axis Course On The Generosity Project

The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. – Matthew 13:22

Often we need to spend more time letting things go than adding things on. As believers in God, our spirits are in love with Jesus our Creator and long to be like Him, but we get lost in all of the thorns… the “needs” that our culture has placed on us. As today’s verse tells us, wealth is deceitful and brings with it so many worries about life. When we find ourselves striving for more and more wealth, success, and security, we realize (sadly, for some, after a lifetime of chasing) that there is never “enough.” It’s like an itch that can never be scratched.

We need to allow God to pull up the thorny weeds in our hearts so that we can feel His love for us and for those suffering in our world. We can receive the seed of truth and give it room to grow in us. He has made a way! We must learn to hear His voice above that of our society. We must choose Him. As C.S. Lewis said, “There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right, then, have it your way.’”

So, how do we unlearn the materialism and self-focus that so easily grows in the soil of our human hearts when our society keeps the thorny weeds very well-watered?

We must be willing to let go of finding our identity, our purpose, and our joy in worldly things and find it in God—the only true source of life. Yes, it is scary, but it’s one brave step at a time reading His Word, asking honest questions, and making small changes in our daily lives. Wanting less, giving more, spending with intentionality, and learning about vulnerable people in our communities are all small but meaningful steps toward letting go of “self.” As we learn to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, He will show us what things need to be pulled up out of the soil of our hearts… to make room for the seeds of truth to grow.

Research: Ready, Set…

Here’s where the rubber meets the road. Plan out the time you want to volunteer or the donation you want to make. If you’re volunteering, call the organization (or contact them through email or their website––whatever works best!) and set up your volunteer day. It’s okay if your day is next week or even next month, just make sure you get everything set up! Fill out any paperwork you need to and schedule a separate orientation time if they need you to do that. If you’re donating, set aside the money you’re going to give and spend some time praying over the people it will help.

Activity: Reframing Our Mindset

Today we want you to reflect on who God has made you to be. With your family, read all of Matthew 13, then make a list of blessings God has given you. What things in your life are you grateful for? What gifts has God specifically given to you? Go through the list item by item and pray with thankfulness over each one. Try not to let your prayer slide into asking for anything; instead focus on contentment and gratitude to God for what he’s done in your life.