1 Timothy 6:17
Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.
When my husband was offered a position with a company in another state, they relocated us. We sold our home and moved. We chose to rent where we were going, as we moved fairly quickly and did not have a chance to look at different towns and their Special Education programs. So we felt it was best to rent for a time and get to know the area. We rented a home in a beautiful town. My second son was just entering first grade, so this was a wonderful time to move. We started that school year with enthusiasm, looking forward to the people we would meet. When we hosted a birthday party for our six year old, we saw it as a great opportunity to get to know the other children and their parents. We met some very nice people, who welcomed us warmly. But we noticed something. There was a theme that seemed to run among several of the parents of those who had also relocated here, like us. I remember one dad welcomed us to the area and I commented on what a beautiful area it is. He said "yes, there is a good standard of living here." When I replied by mentioning how welcoming people had been, he repeated: "yes, there is a good standard of living here." Sadly, several of the parents had similar comments. Thankfully, many did not, and were appreciative of the important things, not the standard of living.
Understanding of course that we want our children to have a safe place, and a safe home, this went much further. There seemed to be an air of self-importance, and a celebration of all of the fine things money and success could buy. Yet, we live in the least churched area of the nation. I believe it is only 20 percent of people go to church here. That means 80 percent do not. While going to services does not a believer make, any more than going to a mechanic makes us a car, it is telling. And it shows itself I think in the demeanor of those in the area. It is expressed in the values that people hold dear, as evidenced by the repeated "good standard of living" statement. That man's words were an indicator of where his heart was. Yet, there are MANY others in that same town, who of course are appreciative of a safe area with good schools, but do not have their high standard of living as the focus of their lives. Where do we stand? I believe the number one criterion of a good standard of living lies in my relationship with my Lord. Apart from Him, I can do nothing. With him, I can do all things. So whether I live in an affluent area, or a depressed area, my standard of living comes from within. Have you ever seen a single mom (or dad) who lives in a poor area, yet is managing to raise the most magnificent children? What is different? She lives in poverty, yet her children are incredibly rich. It is because she carries her standard of living and her wealth, within her. The treasures she possesses are not of an earthly nature, but are borne of a relationship with a King. Hence, her supply of wealth never runs dry. This is the standard of living we should all be striving for. This is what we, as a band, are striving for.
The riches and blessings of this world are fine. There is nothing wrong with them. But the wealth of our lives lies in our relationship with a God who has no interest in our bank balance. The example we hope to set is one of being bold and finding the true source of success and joy. Even if others don't understand, that is okay. We can still be an example to them. This is our prayer and our desire. That our standard of living be such that it consistently points others to Christ. Our treasure is in our heavenly riches, not the fleeting earthly ones. So when someone comments that they enjoy something, rejoice with them. There is nothing wrong with enjoying an area or the blessings God has bestowed. In fact, it pleases God when we do. It is only when the standard of living becomes the god we serve that there is an issue. May we never let our standard of living become our standard of life. If we do, we will miss out on so much more that God has for us. We will settle for crumbs, rather than the feast He has prepared. We will give up the very thing we are searching for: a good standard of living. Be blessed this week!