Comfort

1 Timothy 6:9  (NIV) Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.

I often think about our safe, comfortable middle-class existences.  Do we in North America not desire to be rich?  We are rich.  If we so chose, we could simply not work, yet not starve.  Opportunities abound for those willing to accept them.

Our lands have seldom been attacked.  We are very safe in relation to the rest of the world.

Even our churches are comfortable with padded pews, multi-media systems and , espresso bars in the foyers.

If we are not rich, what are we?

What are some of the “many foolish and harmful desires”?  The pursuit of ‘stuff’?  Luxury SUV’s? Houses with 5 bathrooms? $300 Jeans? Psychiatry for our pets? Fake boobs?

What is more important to us than our comfort and convenience?  How is it benefiting us and others?

I like comfort and convenience as much as the next person.  But is the world a better place by our pursuit of them?

I read this post recently.  What is the danger in being a middle-class comfortable Christian?

It summarizes many of my thoughts.  I welcome yours.

Ciao.

Chaz

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About Chaz

Husband, father, brother, son, friend. Sober member of AA. Grateful for the life God gave me and for the happy struggle of recovery.
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9 Responses to Comfort

  1. Caddo Veil says:

    Hi Nephew! As one who grew up in a middle class home in the US which did not afford luxuries, because we were a large family–and who now lives at what most view as the “poverty level”–I’m happy to say that I feel Rich! It’s wonderful to have confidence that God will always provide for me–and, having an attitude of gratitude, I’m quite joyful and content with His sufficiency. I think that’s the key, attitude–the people I’ve seen who have a sense of entitlement, never have enough; they’re not satisfied, want more, and are continually scraping to get by. And, as you probably know–since you’re so sensitive and astute–there’s not enough money in the world to feed a hungry heart. Only God can fill that up. Have a much-blessed day. Sending prayers and love for you and your family!

    • Chaz says:

      Thanks Caddo… yes, an attitude of gratitude has certainly made a difference in my life. I had been caught up for many years in the pursuit of middle-class comfort. Only after having painfully lost some ground in this area during my divorce and subsequent addiction did I realize how lost I was. I feel like I woke up and was able to shake loose from much of the grip of our North American obsession with ‘more’.

      Yet the crazy thing is that I am more financially stable today than I ever had been when I had ‘more’. More in fact was less. Perhaps I had propspered financially without my soul having sufficiently prospered.

      The point of my post, however, is based on disappointment with what I saw in myself as a middle-class comfortable Christian. God was not as vividly real to me then. I was too busy rationalizing how I could serve God and cling to my pursuit of comfort. And have been left wondering how much of North American middle-class Christendom is as oblivious as I have been.

      An author I read recently actually seeks out teaching from Third World ministries because he finds much of the teaching that comes out of comfortable, safe North American culture to be tainted with selfish pursuits. Maybe this is what was referred to in 1Timothy 6:9? What else could these terrible ruins and destructions be if not our own implosions due to selfish indulgences?

      Either way, I am glad to have shaken loose of some of it… enought to wake up at least a bit. Am sure there is more to come.

      Thanks for jumping in!

      Chaz

      • Caddo Veil says:

        Yes, I imagine those teachings from Third World ministries would be very eye-opening and valuable–and would compliment our “attitude of gratitude” position. God bless you.

  2. Debbie says:

    Chaz, I think what really impacted me was how we slowly come to think we “need” things . . .the kinds of things that make us more comfortable. I find that I am closer to Him the less “comfortable” I am! And that’s what I really need. You have helped me to check what I am talking about to others. Thank you so much! God bless you and yours and your heart that keeps seeking after Him and what He wants!

    • Chaz says:

      Thanks Debbie…

      It does indeed seem to be human nature and proves itself throughout history. Wants become perceived as needs in an environment of comfort and affluence.

      When I lost a big, beautiful home in a divorce, I thought I could never live without it. We had 4 bathrooms for 5 people. We now have 1.5 bathrooms for 4 people and are getting along just fine! We even had a flood and lost the .5 for a period of time during repairs but we managed perfectly well.

      Immersed in this climate of comforts and wants, it is only natural that we Christians in it go along become influenced by it and become part of it…. only our version of it where we enjoy our comforts, yet do our obligatory duty to God. Or so we think. I wonder if we are in fact putting our comforts ahead of what God really wants for us? Only each of us as individuals can come to this conclusion.

      I know mine…. I fell into the trap. It’s easy.

      Glad some lights have come on… yet cautious not to assume I see the full picture yet.

      Thanks for contributing to the dialogue.

      Ciao.

      Chaz

  3. I grew up in a middle class home. I do not ever remember a time when we “lacked” anything. My parents climbed the social ladder and arrived at one point in the house we lived in as I grew into middle and high school. Today my parents have a beautiful house with all the trappings. Where I/we (my partner and I) have a very humble apartment. It took us ten years to purge all the old appliances for new ones. We make due with our means and we don’t live extravagantly by any means.

    With hubby being the main breadwinner, money is very tight, but we have learned how to make the loonie stretch. We have nice clothes and shoes. A computer and cable tv. All these things did not come easy. Like I said this ten year journey we have been on has grown our wealth and situation very slowly. We don’t have cars, nor do we ever take extravagant vacations. The only vacation we ever took was our honeymoon cruise. We can’t afford those things today and we have learned to accept that truth. What we do have is love and a marriage.

    We are not about “things and money” … In the fall our circumstances will change and we will take another step up the ladder of success when hubby defends his MA and he begins professional teaching here in the city. Our goal is to move to a bigger home and it will be simple and affordable. We have never aspired to be rich with money, I guess that makes us rich in each other. We will never be “middle class rich” like my parents – it took them most of their lives to climb the social/monetary ladder.

    A.A. has brought me peace of mind and has helped end my desire to drink. It did not make me rich or give me back all that I had spent. But little by slowly we celebrate our achievements. It is a humbling journey. I never wanted to be rich. Because you can’t take it with you when you die. I would rather like to think that we live richly with food on the table, a roof over our heads and a warm bed to sleep in each night. For us, that is enough.

    Fear of people and of economic insecurities will leave us … I still have that fear. We have managed our finances securely over the last year, but it would only take one blip on the radar to unbalance the whole foundation we stand on. It is that precarious. With that, I guess we haven’t made it to the next rung on the financial securities ladder.

    I don’t know what Jesus would make of my life … But I do what I can to keep the kingdom and to share the wealth and do what is good.

    Jeremy

    • Chaz says:

      Hi Jeremy… thanks for your reply.

      Your life does sound rich. I mean that. I once dismissed things such as food on the table, roof over my head, clothes on my back, warmth, etc. as being an excuse for not striving for more. Today, I value those things far greater than the riches I once coveted. Riches that taint many into things I would never want to be (again).

      Few people could inventory their lives as richly as you do Jeremy. You say you don’t have much materially. But you certainly do in your quality of life.

      In my line of work, I meet many people and get a glimpse of their financial standings. Few would I ever want to emulate. Their pride, their complacency. Not all, but many.

      I would not trade the life I have today for the comforts some covet and flaunt. If they were so happy, why would they want to make the rest of us feel bad or envious? A healthy person would not need the envy of others to validate his success. He would just ‘be’. When our soul prospers, we don’t play these games with others. If anything, the prosperous soul shares his wealth meaningfully without expectation of reciprocation.

      Jesus has far more cautions about wealth than he does about poverty. That must mean something.

      What does Jesus think of your life? My guess is that he looks at it through eyes of grace the same as he does for all of us.

      Thanks again for popping in.

      ciao.

      Chaz

  4. Heidi says:

    Good reminder about focus. I think it’s the program of AA that has really helped me maintain the right focus. Funny isn’t it? All those years in the pews and yet God used a bunch of drunks (like me) around the tables to get through to me. I need that common denominator, I guess. I’m so thankful for the new life I’ve found within the structure of AA. I’ve never been happier and I’ve never owned less ‘stuff’.

    • Chaz says:

      Hi Heidi!

      It is bizarre, isn’t it. I often wonder about that myself. Yet, there should be no need for the two to compete…. church and AA that is.

      I wonder what the religious establishment of Jesus day felt when this guy from the red-headed-step-child province of Galilee showed up, hung with sinners, and challenged them in ways they never imagined.

      Not equating Jesus presence to AA in any way. I am just saying there may be some parallels in the way God does things. His people seem to get preconcieved ideas of how he works then he stirs it up by bringing in something out of left field.

      God will use whomever and whatever he pleases. I believe he uses AA to get some of us sober so he can use us for his purposes. No different than he gave some diabetics insulin so they could live and serve him.

      Thanks for popping in.

      Ciao.

      Chaz

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