If you are going to try to live a life of simplicity and stewardship you are going to fight the cultural tide all the way. Not only the explicit powers of marketing, which are constantly trying to convince you of some felt need or another, that only they can solve, but there is implicit marketing going on all the time.
Think back to how many homes in old sit coms were large enough to have two staircases. We grew up seeing people, even “middle-class” ones, living in luxury that most of us will never see. According to this article from Bankrate even the “2 Broke Girls” live in an apartment that costs $2000 a month. And Penny from the Big Bang theory is living in a $1500 a month apartment by herself with at least a $100 a week wine habit on the tips from the Cheesecake factory. That simply isn’t possible.
These lifestyles are just not realities for most of us, they aren’t even realities for the characters on TV, but we are told over and over again that this is the lifestyle we should have. If you are being a good steward of your money and giving sacrificially it can be hard to make ends meet let alone live up the lives we see around us constantly. In order to live as God calls us to we must learn as Paul said, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”
It is all to easy to find ourselves comparing our homes, cars and lifestyle to those around us. What we never see is the numbers underneath or the sacrifices that had to be made to accomplish that lifestyle. When I find myself struggling with wanting to keep up with the Jones’ I just assume they are drowning in debt and have no savings. Even if it isn’t true, it helps to crush my pride. I am not quite at the point where I can just be OK with it, it is part of my pride. I confess it.
Living contentedly means that our lives can be simpler. We can be satisfied in Christ and all he is to us and not have to worry about keeping up with the Jones’. Some times that means living with less and some times it will mean living with more, but always being satisfied with our lives and always giving joyfully. It is easy to think and live this way when you are young and your friends are all broke, but it takes a certain level of confidence to live this way without feeling inferior, as you get older and your contemporaries are moving into larger homes and driving newer cars. But, Christianity will be facing much more of an uphill battle as the common culture in America turns more secular, we should get used to it.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.
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