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When we first bought our home, we thought we would only be here for five years. My husband planned this loosely, but I was hoping that we would move on to bigger and better at year 5. I am the one that looks at newer, bigger houses, save the links and subtly send them to my husband.
I also, look at every challenge as an opportunity to move out of this home to something “better.” I have become discontented in a place which at one time, was a blessing from God. One day, as I was talking about moving again, my husband challenged me to “fall in love with the home I am in now.” I was reluctant to accept his challenge, but the more I thought about it. Why not?
I began to think about the blessings of being in my current home:
- We have good neighbors, some we have cultivated a neighborly friendship in which we look out for each other and serve one another.
- My children enjoy playing with the kids in our neighborhood.
- We live in a good community, and have access to plenty of stores for our convenience.
- Our pediatrician and dentist is in walking distance.
- Our home is pretty spacious for our family of 6.
- We have the opportunity to create a living space that we desire.
How do we develop an attitude of discontentment?
Based on my own situation, here are several examples you may be able to relate to:
- Keeping up with the Joneses, you’ve heard of this before right? It means when we see others with bigger and better things we are influenced to do the same. We don’t want to be left out, so we join them and buy the new and shinier toys too!
- Paying too much attention to what the culture says, the business of commercials, advertisements and television shows intice us into believing we need what they are selling in order to have a better life.
- Believing that the more we have (i.e., the bigger home, the newest car, the latest style, etc.) will make us more established or liked by others.
The common factor here seems to be covetousness, and according to the bible this is a sin.
Easton’s Bible Dictionary describes convetousness as a strong desire after the possession of worldly things.
There are many scriptures that warn against covetousness, I found this one to be most relevant to our topic of discussion:
But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction
-1 Timothy 6:9 (ESV)
Additionally in today’s church culture, especially in the United States, we glorify prosperity more than the actual Gospel of Jesus. Instead of desiring to be a servant of God, sadly, we are more concerned about how does this serve me?
This quote by David Platt author of Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From The American Dream, sums it up in a way that may make us feel uneasy:
Yet in the American dream, where self reigns as King (or Queen), we have a dangerous tendency to misunderstand, minimize, and even manipulate the gospel in order to accomodate our assumptions and our desires. As a result, we desperately need to explore how much of our understanding of the gospel is American and how much is biblical.
Ouch, yeah I know, sometimes the truth hurts and we need to hear it.
While I was dreaming and taking snap shots of my “bigger and better home” there are more pressing issues concerning people that are less fortunate than I am. According to the United Nations, 21,000 people die of hunger and hunger-related deaths everyday, mostly children.
My heart is hurting.
I am not trying to lay the guilt trip on you, or tell you what to do with your hard earned money.
I am only asking that we take our eyes off of ourselves and consider what God would have us to do with our resources.
We were never promised nice cars, big houses, expensive clothing, but we are instructed to be satisfied with our needs being met (Matthew 6:25-33). Let’s read 1 Timothy 6: 7-8 (the scriptures right before our previous reading in the book of Timothy):
for we brought nothing into the world, and[c] we cannot take anything out of the world.8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.
When we become gratified with our needs being met, we have the opportunity to selflessly serve and meet the needs of others.
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[f] you did it to me.
Stay tuned for part 2…