LESS IS MORE:
Did I really rush to grow up and work my butt off for all this?
I think this speaks for most of us.
I used to be exhausted running the daily rat-race treadmill for acquiring all those nice things we call ‘The American Dream’. In the last few years it seems the incline to ‘mt. blessed’ has been greatly increased just to keep what I already have – the bare necessities to keep shelter, food, and good health while fighting for steady work.
AND what’s even worse are these rich modern day preachers who say I must not be ‘blessed’ if I don’t have everything, because that’s what God wants for me. Yes, I know He does – later, in Heaven – with Him.
Are you happy with this ‘best life now’?
What is the American dream, anyway? Who told us what this dream has to be? We come out of college with big debt; then soon pressured to purchase or want pricey rocks; Cinderella destination weddings; then thrust right onto high mortgages; utilities to keep it buzzing along; spoiled kids; trendy clothes; lots of parties; private schools and health clubs; investments; cable tv; charities; maybe even a little something left over for church. (Why is that usually last on the list?)
None of these things are bad things in themselves. Nor is having money an evil thing. The LOVE of money is wrong. But the American dream has become the god of many. It’s easy for Christians to get distracted by all that too. Go shopping on Thanksgiving or Black Friday to get a real taste of how bad it is.
Remember those pensions and 401k accounts? What else do we have to rely on when another crash happens? Oh, the Social Security funds promised decades ago. Right. Well, there are not enough workers to fund it now. Double that with crippling student loans, taxes on EVERYTHING, elevated medical premiums, and what do we have left to live on? That’s if you HAVE a job.
Ironically, after all that madness, we get older and sick of taking care of all that.
Empty-nesters and those fortunate enough to retire do start at some point to scale back when the kids move out. They move to a smaller place, pay things off, scale back work hours, and finally enjoy some fun and hobbies. Why don’t we start simple and keep it that way? The rat race is tiring for most.
Whoever loves money never has money enough;
whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income.
That too is meaningless.
That’s why God tells us not to be greedy. There may be many hidden expenses behind that shiny new car we want or that flawless model-like gal or guy we see and want to become close to may be high main- tenance to look that good all the time). Someone has to pay for it all.
Proverbs 22:7 mentions being a slave to the lender. Credit cards are evil bondages. Yet the banks make it a necessity to have one just to rent a car or a hotel room, then holders are expected to ‘build credit’ for ‘future privileges’. What??? Who wrote that rule? How did people travel or buy things in the pre-credit days? Savings!
The Lord wants our spirits unencumbered, to enjoy the simple things He gave us, and to anticipate something BIGGER AND BETTER that He has for us later on, NOT to be stressed out about high interest debts from living above our means. (Ecc. 5:12) But many – even Christians – don’t want to believe that because they are promised every material blessing now, when the bible actually says the opposite:
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,
but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor rust destroys
and where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Being free of so much debt allows extra free time to enjoy what we already have – or a peaceful nap. Most importantly, this gives us more time with God, and to do His missions to help other people.
What’s it like to be unencumbered? I don’t know yet. But I have more appreciation of blessings I do have because I am not as crazy busy working endless hours to pay only a small part of it and still be exhausted, too broke for a restful day or short trip, and the weight of a small planet on my shoulders to constantly maintain everything.
It’s the new age of ‘making do’ and learning to be content. Retailers tell you different story, and we see the results when we watch the news clips in disbelief how the early season shoppers trample and fight with each other for cheaper gadgets.
So is YOUR treasure here now, or is it the best that’s coming someday with our Lord?
There are MANY warnings of obtaining worldly wealth in the bible and most of it is about the destruction of a soul from it. Our hearts & minds should not be permeated in the love of money or doing what appears to be making it our idol, such as stated in Matthew 6:24. Most church-goers are not reminded of that nor John 18:36, because most modern popular preachers flip that around to promise a wealthy, happy life here on earth.
Are your dreams your own, or something more grandiose from the Lord? Which will endure eternity?
Having less actually adds up for me in this age of ‘hurry up and have everything’. You can keep it!
Part 2: We’ll look at what God has to say about our free wills vs. His will, and what it means to be ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’ instead of ‘self’.
(Feel free to share your stories below of paying off your debts and living free)