It's not what I have[.] It's what I have to give. A blog about resources--gaining, giving, and sharing.

21 February 2011


9:40 PM Posted by steve flores , 2 comments
"I wonder if Jesus would care about the end of our American privilege,
our comfort, my cozy do-whatever-I-want-buy-whatever-I-want way of life.”
-Dan Merchant, Lord Save Us from Your Followers

Nat and I have been doing a lot of talking about the amenities of life lately.  With this post, I’m probably going to hear about how God doesn’t want us to be poor or how God wants us to be rich.  I’d love to hear your thoughts, but I’m merely processing, publicly.  This post is also not meant to be a shot to the person who is prospering financially (I celebrate with you).  I’m merely sharing a possible perspective shift for me.  Here’s what I shared with Nat:

“Do you think we end up being slaves to our lifestyle choices, rather than choosing freedom while living with less?  (I’m not talking about a choice you’re forced to make to get out of debt.)  Are we overwhelmed with worry, career choices, income level, and stress because we’ve decided we need more than we actually do?  If that is the case, then am I more concerned with me and mine, and less concerned about others?”

Reading through the book of Matthew, I didn’t see the disciples caring much about the kind of stuff we’re supposed to care about.  You know, income level, retirement, the kind of car I drive or house I live in, and the clothes I’m supposed to wear.  In the natural, they left stable life to live what seems unstable and unnatural.  What others might have seen as mediocre living became their wildest adventure and it began with giving up the “comfortable, cozy do-whatever-I-want-buy-whatever-I-want way of life”.

My thought only sparks more questions, but the biggest one of all is this: Do I place more value on keeping up my lifestyle, rather than seeing the value in my life or the lives of others? 

It’s a motive question that will help me discover what drives my decisions for life.  I’m talking about what I need and what I want.  It’s going to sound extreme, but should I concern myself with the nicer house (bigger mortgage), newest/latest gadget (trend-setter), or name-brand clothing (status symbol)?  I just don’t see Jesus making a big fuss about it in Matthew.  Actually, I discovered they did much with way less.  Jesus traveled with fishermen and it took a little boy’s lunch to feed a hungry crowd (Here’s John’s account). 

I’m sure people will argue a balance point.  But I’m willing to argue that someone might struggle shopping at Goodwill for a year if they were accustomed to shopping at higher end stores.  And if there is a struggle, would it be safe to assume that we value the lifestyle more than the life?  How did Jesus say we should live?  I love the way the Message communicates Matthew 6:25-26,

"If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds”