Friday, November 9, 2007

My Views on Stuff

“Wow, that’s a pretty good price for a TV,” was my thought the other day as I looked at a $1299.99 42-inch 1080p LCD HDTV at the store.

What has happened to me? Since when is $1300 a good amount of money to spend on a TV? I am embarrassed by this sort of thinking, but it is becoming all to normal for my mind to go into this mode. Wait a minute, though, I deserve this and I work hard; plus, we have been suffering watching on our 27-inch TVs since we got married. We watch a lot of TV, we might as well invest in an area we spend most of our home time.

I’ve quit opening my Bible to any passages that might remind me of what God revealed to us in scripture about money and possessions. That stuff quit applying to me a long time ago because I do enough good things for others to make me exempt from having to cut down on my possessions. My things don’t keep me getting close to God! I am God-blessed American, and America has the market on camels that go through eyes of needles. The fact that my wife and I have more talks about money and possessions than we do about God, spirituality, or our relationship means nothing. After all, I can’t serve God if I don’t have any money, right?

Show me one television commercial concerning Christmas that does not imply that Christmas will only be good if you put the right stuff under the tree. In a Wal-Mart commercial, a wife says, “This is going to be a good Christmas.” Why, because she got a TV and an HD-DVD player for her husband. Oh, I am being so judgmental, maybe gift-giving is her “love language,” in which case, she’s cleared. I am not against Christmas, I am against making the value of a time or experience based on the value of the material gifts. I’m guilty of this, but pledge to make it different this year. This year I am going to try my damndest to value who I am with and what we are doing more than the value of what I get. I vow to put more value on the time spent playing Monopoly with my in-laws than on what’s under the tree. I vow to appreciate the time with my family that I see 2-3 times a year more than the envelope in the stocking that I know has money in it. This is going to be a difficult holiday season for me!

I struggle with possessions every day and I hate it. What if Jesus meant literally what he said about money? I sure hope what the Bible says about grace covers my sins of materialism and putting things before God. We are not called to move to Africa and have nothing, although some of us are. I believe when we quit struggling with worldly possessions, that’s when it becomes a problem. When I walk into a store and think a $1300 TV is a good deal, I need to be on guard. When I give less at church than I do at the restaurant that afternoon, I need to think about my life. Now, where I did leave my iPod. . .

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