On Saturdays, I’m writing my thoughts that have rambled in my brain since hearing last Sunday’s sermon at my church. Today’s entry was inspired by Jay Utley’s sermon given at Irving Bible Church, the 7th in our series, “Whatever.” This one is titled “How We Respond Matters.”
I don’t remember much about the first house I ever lived in. I remember we had big wheels and plenty of Kool-Aid.
My second home was a 3BR, 2BA split-level smack in the middle of suburbia. I had bicycles, a membership to the local pool & got a car when I turned 16.
Next I moved to an apartment with some buddies from high school. It was all second-hand furniture, textbooks and CD’s (which had just become a thing).
On to the fraternity house. Dorm fridges and R-rated/sophomoric behavior and great friends and a meal plan.
Early marriage. Raising funds working for a ministry and living in our first apartment. We had an argument over a $15 purchase of a Christmas decoration that didn’t fit our budget.
Our first home didn’t have central air or a dishwasher. Once, we scraped change from the couch & cars to pay for a $10 co-pay for a sick kid and put Infamil on credit cards.
Then a couple of places while in seminary. Two part-time jobs and countless hours studying and such with two toddlers and Barbie dolls and Legos.
Then the house we lived and loved in for 17 years while we served at one church. We got out of debt and had too many wonderful moments to list here. We sold it last month because the housing market in our area certainly favors sellers.
We now live in an apartment complex until we find our next home while serving at alongside a new church family. We have a pool and workout room and they take the trash from our door and we have not one, but two storage units keeping things safe until we find a new landing spot.
I’ve had it…and got it…pretty good, man. It’s easy to start prayers with “thanks, God.” I mean, it ain’t perfect. But the majors are taken care of, that’s for sure. I’m not different than most of the people I rub shoulders with daily.
And Jay asked a pretty good question during this sermon:
Here’s the truth about the human race: People are healthier and cleaner and richer and smarter than they ever have been. We live longer lives. We eat better. We dress warmer. We do less menial labor. We play more than at any other time in the history of the human race. But let me ask you: Are we happier? Have we become more content or are we just cleaner, healthier, better-coiffed discontented people?
I thought a lot about that question this week.
Because if I’m honest, there’s a few upgrades I’d like to my toys. I mean, I’m driving a Corolla (the official car of suburban American ministers everywhere) with 6-digits on the odometer and one hubcap missing and no “aux” connection so I have to listen to CD’s that skip when I hit a speed bump.
There are some really good bottles of adult beverages I’d like to have on hand. There are some choice restaurants I’d like to try that friends rave about. There are really good books I’d like to buy so I’d have to trade some used books in to make room on the shelf for. There are some really good iTunes purchases just waiting for me. Some good concerts I’d like to check out.
When we look at potential houses to buy there are a few bells & whistles we’d like to ensure are part of the deal. They involve certain types of flooring, cabinetry and countertops. If the house doesn’t currently have the ones we want, we factor in an approximate cost to put them in alongside the asking price.
My oldest daughter is going to graduate university next spring, and a wedding is on the docket for next summer. I know what I’d really like to be able to do to celebrate the joyful season of life she’s in (and by extension, we’re, in).
My youngest daughter is about to graduate from a demanding cosmetology school having done very well and learned a trade she can be excellent with…and there’s a lot I’d like to be able to do to celebrate the joyful season of life she’s in (and by extension, we’re, in).
And I see the billboard on the highway telling me how much the Powerball lottery is at should we win on our $2 lighting-in-a-bottle risk…to the tune of about $60 million to one return. The stuff I could and feel like I would do if lightning in a bottle got caught by us, right?
It’s a tension I struggle with. Because, really, I have it so good. My apartment complex has a pool, remember? I’m going to a baseball game on Sunday and will eat hot dogs there, right?
Yet I can easily want more.
But at the same time I want to rejoice in God’s blessings, too. I’m not sure suburban guilt is a healthy response, either.
Like Jay reminded us, the nature of being content is realizing that God’s current provision for my life is enough.
It is. It’s more than enough. And today, I’ll be thankful. I mean, like I said earlier, I’ve never really done without much of anything. Certainly nothing of need.
And try to keep myself from wanting more.