Learning to be Discontent :: Money (part 3 of 5)

This Sunday we begin a 4 week series at the Ithaca Vineyard entitled, “In God We Trust.”  Each day this week leading up to the series, we’ll spend a little time looking at the topic of money.

Imagine you have a friend who tells you that he while he loves his wife, he enjoys spending time looking at magazines filled with beautiful women.  No, not that kind of magazine…that would be crossing a line…they are all fully dressed.  Or that he likes to go to the mall, walk around and notice attractive women.  Now, mind you, he’s never actually acted on anything, he just like to see beautiful women, and imagine what it would be like to be with them.

Would you think, “hey no big deal, we all need our hobbies.”  Or would you be extremely concerned for him?  Would you tell him that regardless of what types of lines he imagines crossing or not crossing, what he is doing is impacting his heart.  That some day the seeds he’s sowing are going to take root.

Many of us would quickly label that type of behavior as lust and encourage this person to get some help…fast.  Because they are sowing stuff in their lives that they are eventually going to reap. And it won’t be pretty.

So here’s a question, why do we so easily see lust as a major problem when it comes to the issue of sex, but excuse it when it comes to possessions?

If your friend told you I really enjoy looking at electronics magazines, or home decorating magazines, car magazines, clothing catalogues, whatever.  There’s a good chance that rather than being concerned, we’d list our favorite online stores, magazines or catalogues that we love to look at and dream about the stuff we’d like to have.

Or if they told us how they love to go to the mall, walk around the stores, and look at at all of the stuff they wish they could have, we are ready to share our wish list…in fact we may already have several of them set up online.

Let me clarify.  I am not a Luddite.  I like gadgets.  I’m not saying ever wanting anything is bad.  But about four years ago I was sitting in the office when the mail came, and one of the things in the mail was a catalogue with stuff for Macintosh computers.  I joked with one of the guys who was there that this is like porn.

Now, your thing might not be computers, but have you ever leafed through a catalogue full of stuff pertaining to your favorite hobby, seen some shiny add for something you’ve never heard of & all of a sudden realize, “I have to have that.”  I don’t really know what it is…I’m not really sure what it does…my life was going along really well up to this point, but now that I have seen this, I need to get it.

What is that?  And why do we think that it isn’t really that big a deal?

Shortly after making my, “this catalogue is like porn,” comment, I realized this is really unhealthy for me, and got rid of them, and when they came in in the future, they went right into the recycling bin.

Scripture instructs us to, above everything else guard our hearts, because that is where our life flows from.  And is some areas we are diligent…but we tend to believe that in others, it’s no big deal…I mean, everybody does it…& it’s not like I’m hurting anyone.

But when it causes us to spend more money than we have, it is a problem and it is hurting people.  When we convince ourselves that we can’t give to God because we really need all of this other stuff, it is a big deal.  When people around us are in need, and we can’t help because all our money is going to pay off credit card balances for purchases that are now sitting in our attic, or the landfill, maybe it’s time to step back and think about whether or not this is working for us or not.

Are there things in your life that feed your obsessions?  For me it was computer magazines, websites & walking around Best Buy.  So I’ve made a decision to avoid those places.  And you know what, when the time comes that I have to update something, or make a purchase to replace something that isn’t working, I do that pretty easily…but by not focusing on what the newest computers can do, and all of the features that have been introduced over the past few years, I am actually quite content with my 4 year old macbook pro.  It does everything I need it to do.  But if I were to spend hours on the web looking at all the features the new ones have, how long would it be before I decide that my computer is actually a piece of junk?  It’s too slow, it’s scratched up, I can’t do x, y & z with it.

Godliness with contenment is great gain…Godliness without contentment…how does that work?

What feeds your obsessions?  Is it having an impact on your life that you like, or not? What can you do about it?

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