Only a fool would think it’s a beautiful picture.
For three weeks during the month of June, my family was in Houston visiting the church that provided the oversight for our work in Alotau, Papua New Guinea. We spent a lot of time in peoples’ homes and enjoyed the blessings of Christian fellowship. The result was that we ended up driving through a lot of different neighborhoods north of Houston. I was struck by how beautiful everything was.
If you want to see pristine manicured lawns, visit some of the neighborhoods in the Champions area of Houston. Seriously, how does every blade of grass fall perfectly into place? I can’t even keep all the hairs on my head in line!
Everything looked perfect in those quaint little neighborhoods.
Each morning while we were in Houston, I’d get a USA Today from the breakfast area at the hotel. The paper was reporting staggering amounts of debt. Troubling numbers of houses being foreclosed on. Cars being repossessed. There were shocking numbers of people who just can’t keep up with their payments, debts, bills, and obligations.
Those statistics must include those same perfect, pristine, and manicured homes with shiny cars in the driveway.
The paradox makes me sick.
Beautify on the outside. Create a facade of wealth. A facade of financial stability.
Then avoid phone calls of creditors. Rack up more and more debt. Pile on more stress. Work harder to try and catch up.
Not only are so many people working for something temporary (while neglecting the eternal), but they’re experiencing tremendous amounts of pain, stress, and pressure as they chase after these things.
Is this the American dream?
It seems like somewhere we’ve got off track.
My dream for myself and my family is different. My hope for you is different, too. I pray that you don’t buy into the lie that stuff brings happiness.
I want to make people a priority. I want to give my family the most valuable resource I have – time. I want to be available to be used by God in whatever ways he calls. I don’t want debts, burdens, and obligations to get in the way of discipleship. I want to use my excess for others, not just for self.
So, what are we doing about it?
- We’re driving around in a hail damaged silver PT Cruiser.
- We’re renting a house that, while nice, won’t win any home and garden awards.
- I’m working from home which gives me the flexibility to give priority to family needs and ministry.
- We’re focusing on saving instead of earning.
- We spending minimal amounts of money as we set up our home.
So, what are you doing about it? (Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section below.)
- What are you doing to slow down in this fast paced world?
- What are you doing to address the debt situation in your home?
- Where are you cutting back your spending?
- How are you saving money?