Recently, we sold a home; we are now renting and considering our options for a future home purchase. I know exactly what my dream house looks like, the approximate square footage, number of bedrooms, flooring, etc. I also have a rough idea of what we can afford. I wonder though, even if I can afford something, even if I find that dream home (within my budget) should I spend that much money on something as banal as a house. Mind you, I’m not talking about millions here or even half millions; however, when I think about what is necessary, really necessary – how much money can I justify spending on a temporary, earthly home for my family?
I recently read a blog that spoke on this very subject under the heading of modesty. It was titled “Modesty doesn’t live in a multi-million dollar mansion”. Here is the link:
The author, Elizabeth Esther, took the traditional definition of modesty and examined it outside of the realm of sexuality; an approach I found refreshing and one that spoke directly to the questions I was struggling with. She asserts with clarity that “true modesty” is “about how we speak, how we act and it’s about avoiding extremes . . . [it’s] about moderation.”
Her natural “next step” is to point out that as Christians we are all called to live modestly, and I am reminded of 1 Corinthians 10:23 which tells us that while everything is permissive; not everything is beneficial. As I think about modesty, and I think about our future home, I find myself spending a significant amount of time pondering this concept of moderation and what is “enough”.
There is a another woman I am thinking about, her name is Katie Davis, and she is the founder of Amazima Ministries (www.amazima.org) and author of the blog and book (by the same name) “Kisses from Katie” (www.kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com) . In 2008, at the tender age of 18 Katie became the adoptive mother of three orphaned girls in Uganda, Africa; in the following years she adopted 10 more daughters. Katie and her daughters live in Uganda, amongst the poorest of the poor. In reading both her blog and book it is clear that what is “enough” for Katie and her girls is, shamefully, a far cry from what I’d likely deem “enough” for my girls and I.
One can easily make the argument that the question of moderation must be considered in the context of my peers, those with similar education, careers and demographics. However, if I identify first and foremost as a Christ follower, as a child of the most high, I know that my peers are not those of like career and education. My peers are all those whom Christ loves; the whole human race, and I know that most of them in this world live more like Katie than me.
The question though is not just one of material sufficiency; I think it extends into a deeper conversation on the sufficiency of Christ. It’s about where and how we find contentment. I believe that the willingness to turn from the trappings of this world, the extravagances of our culture, is what Christ calls us to and there is no greater freedom.
And, as a Christ follower, I know that my Father has prepared a place for me – that my address is only temporary and that I am not of this world for long.
“In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would not have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2