You May Be Richer Than You Think


Is there a limit?

Maybe not.

Is there a limit to how much our standard of living can escalate?

In general, I don’t think we notice.  I don’t think we notice that little by little our standard rises.  If it happened all at once, it might be a jolt.  No–it is slow–acceptable–reasonable–gradual.


I grew up in Dallas.  Things were big in Dallas.  "Big D!"  After all, one of the first indoor malls to exist in Dallas was named, "Big Town."  And so our city grew and grew.  More and more buildings went up. Tall–big buildings!  In college, I worked downtown in the First National Bank Building on the 27th floor.  And there were many, many floors above the 27th.


Today, some people seem to always be looking for the biggest, newest, and the best.  The house that used to be our dream home doesn’t satisfy any more.  The car that was the envy of the guys as work is now for sale.  The vacation we took?  We may have found that our vacations have become more elaborate–and expensive.


We upgrade.  We upgrade our cars, houses, and other "big ticket items." It is not just that we replace the broken or obsolete.  No, our standard of living continues to rise.   Our conversations may sound like this:


"I am so tired of this little house.  Why can’t we get the kind of house the Smiths are building?"


"We may be getting a new car. I really like that new…."


"Yea, it’s a little more car than we need but you only live once!"


"Why can’t we go on a vacation like they did?"


"Sure we can handle the mortgage payment! Some people have a higher payment than this."


"Look– all of our friends are getting a _______.  Why don’t we get one!  Let’s splurge!"


There is no end.




There is no end to this.


This kind of life has become an endless game where we remain preoccupied with our affluence, while we ignore a treasure that money can not buy. Think of our treasure: Our families. Our husbands. Our wives. Our children. Our parents. Our friends.  Then there is the greatest treasure of all; Jesus himself.


Maybe we need to give some thought to what all of this upgrading is costing us.  Again, some upgrading is necessary. Your car will eventually wear out. Your computer must have upgrades. That is not the problem.  The problem is the constant upgrading that is rooted in a heart of discontent.  This upgrading is costing us not only money but our time, energy, and our contentment.

Meanwhile, our real treasure may be getting very little attention.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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10 thoughts on “You May Be Richer Than You Think

  1. Thanks for not bringing multiple guitars into this conversation!!
    I’m sure you’ve seen this as well, but one of the things that I encounter in pre-marital counseling with couples is their appetite to have everything new and now. What a barrier to the joy that could and should be a part of that moment in their lives.

  2. Very well said, and something I continually struggle with.

    I just came over here from Elizabeth’s blog and realized you must be the preacher at hers and Stephanie’s church.

    My husband, John, has told me how much he enjoys your blog, but I never put all that together!

  3. Wow…this is something I have been giving a lot of thought to lately. You really hit the nail on the head with your observations. My pastor was just talking about this Sunday morning…what are we willing to give up for God? God is definitely trying to tell us something!

  4. Jim,

    I blogged something similar last evening, getting my starting point from a PBS special on the Declaration of Independence. One of the commentators noted that “equal rights for all has always troubled us, but the pursuit of happiness mystifies us.”

    The lack of contentment that you expressed so well results from people believing the wrong gospel. The American gospel tells us that if we have all the right stuff, or more of it, then we’ll be satisfied. Happiness, or contentment, isn’t the result of acquiring things. We will only be satisfied when we are blessed with communion with Jesus. The Madison Avenue gospel is only a sad parody of the real thing. But it proves that the fields are still white for harvest. People crave gospel.


  5. If contentment is the belief that whatever God provides is enough, then I need more of it! Maybe I could buy some at the new store that is opening in my neighborhood…

  6. “In regards to those people you are trying to out do so they will like, they don’t love you. When you do out do them, they will love you even less!”

    Lynn Anderson said this in a sermon a couple of months ago and I have it posted on my desk. It is my daily reminder to upgrade my prayers to God!