Friday, December 9 (Suggested Reading: I Timothy 6:8-19)
The average American household has over $130,000 worth of debt. This includes mortgages, auto loans, and student loans. Of that $130,000, over $15,500 is credit card debt. At the same time, about 60% of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts, and about 20% don’t even have a savings account at all. Economists studying the spending/saving habits of Americans have noticed that much of that debt goes toward items that, thirty years ago, were considered luxuries but are now considered necessities- such as air conditioning and computers. Further, many of these items, though durable, do not, for most people, feel sustainable, which leads to the purchase of multiple items. For example, consider how many televisions most homes own, not to mention phones, computers and other devices, vehicles, etc.
It seems, according to this research, that the average American has an idea of what they need to own in order to feel satisfied, but that this idea is constantly increasing. As one analyst said, there’s nothing wrong with owning more than one television, until you can’t scrape up $400 in cash for an emergency- then it’s time to take a look at what you’re doing with your money.
The lesson for us as followers of Christ is that we guard against being distracted by what the world considers of value. Wealth and stuff are not evil in themselves, but when they cause us to forget Who we serve, they can direct our attention away from what Paul called “life indeed,” that is, life eternal.
As we enter the Christmas season this year, let’s commit to taking stock of our priorities by considering our reputations: Are we known for the cars we drive, the clothes and jewelry we wear? Or are we known as people who pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness? Are we known as people who are fighting our way to the top financially, or are we known as people who are fighting the good fight of faith? Are we known as people who work hard so we can play hard, or are we known as people who work hard so that we can be generous and ready to share?
The best thing we have- eternal life with Jesus- has already been purchased for us. Because of Christ, we have all the peace, grace, and contentment we need for life here on earth, and can wait with patience and certainty for all the glory that will come when He returns.