I love stuff. I also love to hunt…so put those together and I have a ton of hunting stuff. I love making music…so I have a lot of stuff to do that too – guitars, keyboards, audio interfaces, microphones. I love watching movies so…yeah, over 300 movies in my iTunes library. Digital stuff, physical stuff, it all adds up, piles up, and clutters and clouds my life. Why do I do this to myself? Why so much stuff?
Do I really need to spend X amount of dollars for the perfect microphone, just to get the perfect sound, for the perfect mix? It’s not even what I do for a living. Do I really need to spend X amount of dollars for the perfect thermal imaging scope for my rifle to get the perfect shot? Maybe, if I had my own hunting show – but unfortunately I don’t.
As I was getting ready for work the other day, one of my baby girls was watching Paw Patrol on TV. During the program, as one would expect, there was a commercial promoting some new toy. I was in the other room when I heard her loudly proclaim, “Oh…I want that!” I just shook my head and chuckled to myself. How do you teach that to a kid? You don’t sit them down and give them a lesson about how to love stuff. It’s just how we live, right? We show our kids by modeling it to them. We see what we want and we get it. Get, Get, Get. (It’s not lost on me that she was watching the commercial on the 50” Plasma TV that I had to get.)
I love stuff. My kids are learning to love stuff. And I have probably been chasing the American Dream of making, spending, and getting all that I can, even more than I’ve realized.
So then, how refreshing and freeing are the words, “Gain all you can, save all you can, give all you can.” These phrases reminded me of something Dave Ramsey says, “Live like no one else, so later you can LIVE like no one else.” Basically, by not being a greedy getter now, and by deciding you don’t have to keep up with the Joneses, you free yourself up to live a happier, better life now and later. There is another, better version of my American Dream. One where I am debt free and generous. One where I am gaining, saving, and giving.
If I were debt free, I could gain so much more, to save so much more, to then give so much more. Proverbs 22:7 says, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.” There is so much truth to that. Now, look at verse 6. I mentioned earlier about teaching our kids to want stuff, verse 6 says, “Start children off on the way they should go and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Now, I think that verse 6 is really talking about teaching our kids about God and raising them to know Him and His ways. But, I also think that it’s applicable in common sense rearing.
I need to face the reality that I have allowed myself to become a slave to stuff – once again. I have allowed my kids to see me acquire stuff that we don’t need. I have justified purchases just for the sake of having more stuff.
My family deserves better than that. I deserve better than that. We all deserve a better dream.
“Better a little with the fear of the Lord than great wealth with turmoil.”