Monday, September 9, 2013

Age and Expectations - Part 2

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 As the title suggests, here is the rest of my thoughts on Age and Expectations, established in a prior post and initiated by viewing this video:



So, back to the original point about the video: should we be concerned about where we are in life compared to others? Romans 12:2 says, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." I wrote a blog post about that verse earlier. God made us to do something. Society didn't make us to do anything, but expects something from us. So who do we please - people or God?

Something about all of this doesn't sit well with me though. Maybe it's important to gauge our life's progress by others - isn't that a standard of maturity? If all my friends have awesome jobs and houses and families, and I'm still living with my parents and delivering pizzas, is that okay? Who's to say...but that hypothetical me is probably not going to get many dates.

I once heard a middle-aged woman who worked in ministry talking about how all her friends had retirement funds and bolstered savings accounts. She then said that her and her husband had measly amounts of both, mostly because they had chosen a different path in life that was less lucrative financially, but more centered on ministry. She asked her husband, "Should we be worried about the fact that we don't have those things?" Ultimately, they landed on "no."

I mention these verses often - Matthew 6:19-34, where, in it, Jesus says:
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Later, He continues:
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

I've been finding recently that there is a difference between the way Jesus does things, and the way Christian culture does things. The latter is some hybrid of the American Dream mixed with Western Christianity. I often find myself between the two fronts - on one side hearing that God will provide no matter what, so don't spend your time dwelling on where you are going to get money, but invest in the Kingdom of God. The other side says to be a good steward of your money and work hard to provide for your family.

I think the problem is that both are good, and you can invest in people and God's kingdom in both circumstances. And maybe there are degrees of both that should be adopted - I would never say that it is okay to not provide for your family if you are perfectly able to do it. As a good friend once told me, sometimes choices aren't between good and bad, but better and best.

So if you made it this far (I commend you), you can probably see that all of this is a work in progress, with a lot of unanswered questions. But hopefully it has you thinking...

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