Another Trip to Stuff Mart

children

Photo by Mani Babbar

My family has been going through a major change in our view of money and what is truly important. It’s been a long process that started back in 2005 when we started taking Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class at our church. The next major shift came when my factory closed in the summer of 2009. It has continued as we’ve brought three additional kids into our home to add to our existing three.

It’s amazing what you learn to do without when you just simply no longer have the money to do it. You actually often reach a point where the desire for those things goes away. One great example is fast food. We just really have no desire anymore to fill our bodies with that questionable nutrition.

One thing I have struggled with as we’ve grown, is taking a look at those around me and the things that they still find important in their lives. I wonder how to initiate the changes in their lives without them having to do it through a “trial by fire” such as we have.

I work very hard to not be critical or judgmental of them. It’s not that it’s wrong to want to have the latest and greatest technology, or to eat out on a regular basis, or to take lavish vacations. It’s just that sometimes there’s a greater good that is being missed. As Paul says in I Corinthians 6:12, “Everything is permissible for me”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me”—but I will not be mastered by anything.

The problem for me when I think about spending money on something not totally necessary is that I have learned of and seen first hand how so much of the world lives. We’re sitting here talking about the convenience and simplicity of the latest Keurig coffee machine, and there are millions of children who simply want a clean cup of water and a single meal for the day. God has burdened my heart with that, and I just can’t ignore it any more.

I also hear those that are working hard to save money for their retirement. They are looking forward to a time when they can kick back and take it easy after a life of labor. They may even have plans to do volunteer work too when they retire. What does that do for the 20,000 children who will die tomorrow from preventable causes?

On top of that, how do you know you will even be around to enjoy that retirement? Luke 12:16-21 addresses that topic. It talks about the man who wanted to build bigger barns to store the abundance of his harvest, but what he didn’t know was that his life would be over that very night.

Again, I’m not trying to condemn or criticize anyone. My only hope is that I can make people think a little bit. Maybe there’s a balance that can be struck. Maybe their eyes will be opened to something they haven’t thought about before. Even though we have made many changes in the way we live and think, there are still many improvements we could make. We still live so much better than a huge portion of the world even with the sacrifices we have made already. I would just encourage you to truly be open to the Spirit and let God be your guide as to what is right for your life. Don’t selfishly hold on to things here in this life while others suffer needlessly.