My apartment is 750 square feet. It’s got crown molding, a dishwasher, a garbage disposal, and a full-size washer and dryer. In addition to that, it is furnished with a very nice queen sized bed, with premium linens I might add, a nice red couch that is less than a year old, a leather chair from Dillards that is less than two years old, and a KitchenAid stand mixer. I say all that to say this: I have spent too much money on trivia, on creature comforts. I’ve spent much time maligning my church comrades for driving their luxury SUVs and living in their giant West Little Rock homes. I’ve failed to see that I’m spending money the same way, albeit on a lesser scale, but proportions aside, I am wrong. Perhaps they are wrong too, but I cannot fix them. I can only change my actions.
C.S. Lewis (and this is a paraphrase because my copy of his book is downstairs in my car and it is raining) says in his book Mere Christianity that if you are not deprived of something, it is not truly giving. The Bible offers a couple of poignant examples of this sort of giving: Jesus tells a parable about the widow’s mite, where she gave all she had to the treasury at the temple. And, all four gospels account the crucifixion of Christ. If that’s not personal sacrifice, I don’t know what is.
I love the idea of living selflessly. I hate the idea of moving to a hovel, of not being sure where my next meal is going to come from because I have given my money to the poor, of being overly hot or cold because I refuse to waste money on a ridiculous utility bill, of giving up the more than occasional starbucks run, of not buying new books on occasion, of not going to the movies or bowling or out for sushi. I hate the idea of doing without and I wonder if it’s possible to live selflessly while having all you want. I’m afraid that God is revealing to me that the answer to that question is a big fat NO. I’m afraid that in order to be like Christ, to be selfless, I have to truly put others first, to give in whatever way I can, not begrudgingly, but joyfully. I do not wish to do this. I wish to have what I have and have more when I want to have more and for other people to have too. I believe it is time to reorder some things. I’m not going to like it.