You know how sometimes you just feel like you got smacked in the back of the head by a cold hard piece of truth? And it kinds of makes you a little dizzy, but you can see SO much clearer into situations that were previously murky? Well, that happened. And, I can’t stop thinking about it, so I think it’s something I need to put out there for one of you.
I think I’ve got to tell you a little back-story before I just lay it on you. First, I’ve been investing in my financial IQ by reading “Stop Acting Rich…and Start Living Like a Real Millionaire” by Dr. Thomas J. Stanley. Already, it’s proving to be an awesome book.
Also recently, I was laid out with the flu for exactly 3 days. Now, I can’t remember the last time I had a fever or even was sick. I’m the type that never never gets sick. Maybe a cold ever 15 months, but nothing like this. And I was laid out sleeping/glazed over for most of those 3 days. And what do you do when you wake up but can’t focus on anything? You watch TV and movies. As I was watching some of the shows on my iPad that I normally never get around to, I remember seeing a lot of commercials for Stuff. Big name brand stuff. Mostly expensive stuff. Mostly expensive stuff that represents status and what most people assume the wealthy buy. (Which, by the way if you read the Millionaire Next Door also by the same author, you will realize that most millionaires don’t buy stuff for status but instead are frugal with their money.)
And then Sunday, as I was getting ready for church in the morning, I saw my dog, Henry, still in his dog bed (really just an old pillow with a cute pillowcase) sawing logs. As I looked at his little pillow, I remembered watching some shows about ultra-rich mansions and I remembered seeing some crazy big dog beds. I found myself asking the question in my mind, “should I buy him a bigger, fancier bed?” Immediately after that fleeting thought, a different thought slammed down into my mind, “It’s JUST NOT in his nature.”
It’s just not in his nature to want something just based on a name and a price tag. It’s not in his nature to want expensive stuff to be happy or to know he’s loved by me. He doesn’t need an expensive bed to be comfortable. I mean, I know Henry’s a silly analogy, and I’m not saying don’t buy your dog a dog bed, but have you seen the kinds of beds people with way too much money actually spend ridiculous amounts of money on? Here’s a sample:
I mean, crazy ridiculous, right? Those beds are completely missing the mark of what a dog wants. As long as the bed’s kinda comfortable, it can look drab and frumpy and the dog won’t care. What they really care about is you and your companionship and love.
We see this in our regular culture every day. We live in a stuff-centric world. We live in a world where we are bombarded with messages to get the fastest, the shiniest, the biggest, the best, the most expensive “whatever” on the market not because it’s something we need, but because the advertisers make us think it will fulfill that desire of our hearts. I wonder, from the influence of the media, is our culture being taught to self-medicate ourselves with retail therapy because we are missing the thing that is most important to us – companionship and love? Are people buying their kids or parents or spouses expensive stuff to try and show them love? I think we as a culture need to come back to what really matters. Kids and parents and spouses and friends ultimately want one thing: and investment of time.
And, we need to remember that God never put in us a desire for stuff. It’s just not in our nature. He put in us a desire for HIM, and we will never be filled until we place our desires in God and spend TIME in his presence.
All of that to say…God loves you. He is jealous for your time. He wants to have a deep lasting relationship with you. Stop trying to fill that hole with more and more expensive stuff. Spend some time with Him today instead.