My Heart's Home

March 24, 2011

For Heaven’s Sake

Filed under: Contentment — My Heart's Home @ 2:50 pm

“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:20-21

Somebody just informed me that 95% of Americans are in debt, living paycheck-to-paycheck. In fact, Americans are 660 billion in credit card debt.

I was shocked, but not surprised.

So many times I’ve bitten my tongue when friends tell me how they are struggling to pay bills, build a nest egg or payoff credit cards, yet in the next breath brag about flying First Class to some exotic Island, planting $400 rose bushes or purchasing a $700 crib. (For that price I hope it comes with a guarantee to change the baby’s diaper!) My mom just stuck me in a drawer when I was born. (Well, maybe not literally, but you get my drift.)

I paid $20 for my son’s crib. He’s never complained.

I grew up in a 5,500 square foot home on the beach in coveted La Jolla, California. My room had an ocean view and the Pacific lulled me to sleep each night. We had a live-in maid in a separate apartment who folded my clothes, made my bed and occasionally babysat while both my parents worked full time. Yes, it was a beautiful home. But they both worked hard to purchase it and they could afford it. They were never in debt. Their bills were paid on time. I never saw them argue over money and I grew up feeling financially secure.

I don’t own a mansion. I don’t drive a Cadillac, travel First Class or drink Dom Pérignon. A few feet into my home and you’d certainly realize I don’t have a maid.

But I’m happy and I still feel financially secure.

Yes, I would prefer a little more square footage. Sure I wouldn’t mind an ocean view. And, yes, I would LOVE a live-in maid!

But I am content with or without these things.

We’re debt-free, tithe regularly and are not living paycheck-to-paycheck. The peace I feel is priceless.

We own our stuff; it does not own us.

If you are in debt, living paycheck-to-paycheck, I’m not trying to act superior!

I’m not saying I’ve never racked up credit card debt or don’t know how it feels to live paycheck-to-paycheck. Yes, I have been irresponsible at times with money, but I never went on binge shopping sprees, bought name brands or got my nails done every few weeks if I didn’t have the dough. (And, God forbid, I ever raided my son’s piggy bank to pay the electric bill!) School loans, medical expenses and mortgages, etc., are reasonable debts. I’m talking about irresponsibility and immaturity; spending money we don’t have.

When I was single living in pricey San Diego, California, I used to have to move almost every six months when my single roommates announced their engagements. After I kept ‘marrying off’ my roommates one-by-one, I wised up. I finally decided to move in with a 70-year-old widow. Guess what happened within six months? Yup, she got engaged! Time to move again. I should have started my own business: “Move in with me, pay my rent, and I guarantee you’ll receive a marriage proposal within six months or your money back!”

Every new apartment lease required two months’ rent. Sometimes my car broke down. Sometimes I lost my job. Sometimes I had emergency medical bills. Given these circumstances, I eventually had to borrow on my credit card, since I was living paycheck-to-paycheck. Subsequently, I ended up thousands in debt. Then I devised a plan to pay it all off. I canceled Cable, I made my lunches for work, I didn’t take vacations, etc. I sacrificed. As a result, I was debt-free when I got engaged and had thousands in savings.

Recently I heard a good friend of mine got divorced. When they got engaged they were $15,000 in debt. Their wedding cost an additional $15,000. It was a beautiful ceremony, complete with soaring doves, but they started their marriage on bad footing.

They limped to their Hawaiian honeymoon $30,000 in debt!

The number one cause of marital discord is arguments over money. I know they often argued about it, so I wasn’t shocked or surprised to hear they divorced. I’m just really sad.

I paid for my wedding myself and didn’t borrow a dime to do so. No, I may not have had doves released, worn a silk gown or had Celine Dion serenade us. But it was beautiful nonetheless and I skipped to my honeymoon suite debt-free.

I’ve been skipping ever since.

Can you imagine living without air conditioning, running water, a TV, cell phone, microwave, computer, washing machine, electricity, indoor potty? My parents did. You may feel these are necessities, but they aren’t. We live in a self-indulgent society where we act like spoiled children; we feel entitled to have more, more, more.

We must ask ourselves: When will enough be enough?


What are you doing on earth for heaven’s sake?

God never promised us a rose garden. He promised to meet our needs and never leave us or forsake us.

Last Sunday’s sermon was all about contentment.

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pieced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:6-10.

I’m not saying it’s evil to be wealthy, just like I’m not saying deprivation is more spiritual. It’s all about perspective, attitude and balance. A millionaire can have a philanthropic heart and make monetary contributions that benefit many people and worthy causes. On the other hand, Mother Teresa lived a humble life serving the poorest of the poor. Both types of individuals can be used Spiritually toward advancing God’s Kingdom.

It’s about our heart’s attitude.

It’s about discerning our wants from our needs. It’s about being grateful for the simple things most of the world lives without: a roof overhead, clothes on our backs and food on our tables.

I read this recently: If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep…you are richer than 75% of this world. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish somewhere … you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.

Puts things in perspective, huh? I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling pretty well-to-do right now!

Ask yourself:

Am I more more concerned with laying up treasures on earth or in heaven?

“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2

I’m sure God’s mansions’ will outshine Hearst Castle any day!

My pastor’s sermon included: “If contentment is found just around the corner, you’ll never reach it. We are restless, always looking to the next dream purchase, special event or exciting trip to make us feel good. The new smell vanishes quickly. The scratches, dents and worn spots come. The next version out makes us wish we had waited a bit longer because now our new purchase seems so archaic. Why can’t we be content? We can! Only in Jesus will we find true contentment.”

Compare yourself to Christ, not the Jones’. He’s the only one who truly satisfies.

Let me conclude by saying: there is only ONE area in our lives we should NEVER be content:

Our walk with Jesus.

Amen?

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Phil. 4:12

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.” Matthew 6:28-29

Advertisements

2 Comments »

  1. Interesting comment about the one part of our lives where we should not be content…it seems like that’s where most of us feel content and don’t even worry about it:( If you get a chance, please come and check out my site at chanceman4. My name is Chris Chance and there is a link on my blog to listen to my CD, “Following You” featuring “You” and “His Prints Are in the Sand” (based on the Footprints poem). Also PLEASE go to http://www.noisetrade.com/chrischance. You can download any or all of my songs for the price of your choosing…pretty good deal…you can even get them for free, as long as you put in an email address and zip code (which is only used for me to keep you updated on any happenings). I have chosen to use this option, so that anyone would be able to download my music, no matter their situation. We are trying to get this project up and moving, so anything you can do and any way you could pass it on would be greatly appreciated. Hope you enjoy and are blessed by it!!!!
    Thanks and God Bless!
    Chris

    Comment by chanceman4 — March 24, 2011 @ 3:48 pm | Reply

  2. Karen. Wow. All I can say is Wow. Your writing touched my heart. Thank you.

    Comment by Holly — March 28, 2011 @ 12:13 am | Reply


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: