Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Modest Lifestyle

“We as believers cannot be so focused on the things of this world that we lose our focus on things of God.  When we do, we become entrapped in the snare of the world that we do not reach our destination of helping those who cannot help themselves.”

Recently, I have joined in the craze of going to auctions.  It has become something I really enjoy.  I don’t go to them to buy anything for myself, I usually go to buy something at a low price and try to resell it and make a profit in the hopes of using that money to help those who cannot help themselves.  I must admit, I bought my first item for myself…it was a $22 sander.  

I enjoy the people I come into contact with, getting to know some of them enough to have conversations with and work towards building some sort of friendship.  As much as I enjoy these auctions, and the rush you get when in attendance and bidding on something, it also troubles me.  

Let me explain.  I believe the United States to be one of the few, and maybe the only (maybe Canada?) countries to have storage units.  Most of the rest of the world finds itself in little need of a storage unit, because they do not have excess…rather, they find themselves in need.  It is an eye opening experience to go to storage facilities with hundreds upon hundreds of storage units that are jammed full of excess.  Recently, I went to an auction and the owner had two 10x30 storage units since 1994…

…seventeen years…

…thousands upon thousands of dollars…

…spent to store excess…

…before the auction, she ran frantically into the storage facility office and pulled out seven one-hundred dollar bills and her treasure was saved.
I am not innocent in this.  My eyes are opening more and more to the magnitude of the issue though.  I am all about having nice things, having a nice meal, and even spending some money on things that are not absolutely necessary at times. 

However, when I look at all I have…what is this temporal “stuff” saying about me and where my heart is?

Where is my treasure?  (Matt. 6:21)

Am I so enamored with the thought of having a temporal item that I am willing to make a commitment to pay for it (often with interest) for several years, with the understanding that the money I am spending in this commitment binds me from committing that money to someone that has no ability to help themselves?  We who follow Christ and His teachings must remember the teaching that God will provide (Matthew 6:25-34).  I am such a pro at this lesson, let me tell you.

Another lesson, found in Luke 9:1-6, shows Christ sending out His disciples and telling them not to even take extra clothes, a staff, bag, bread, or extra money…wow.  Now, let’s throw out there the argument that it was a different culture.  I can see that, but even then, there is certainly a message on lifestyle.

While these seem extreme (and it was a different time period and culture), we cannot deny that there is a lesson to be learned and applied here.  How hard are we working for things that do not matter in eternity?  How long are we working to keep them, or get new temporary things?  What are we sacrificing for them?  

Is it really worth it?

Is He really worth it?

Are they really worth it?

Do we look different than the world in this matter?  This matter in particular, our finances and time, impact so much…but I fear that we easily get swept away in it and get lost in the chaos.  Then we find ourselves in the rat race wishing (hopefully) that we could help out those in need but are so bound up that we can’t see the light of day.  

I don’t have any definitive answers, because I don’t know everyone’s situations.  I do know that we must work and sacrifice to get to the place where we cannot be so enamored with unnecessary “stuff” and focus on the priority of sharing His love at any cost.

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