I noticed one time as I walked into a manís house, that the room had been painted. Yeah, thatís right. Painted! You ask, what is so bad about that? Well, it had just been painted not too long back. Oh, and another thing, new tile on the floor. Another flower bed out front. A wall removed to make more room between the kitchen and the living room. Can you believe the nerve of those people? Making their place more beautiful and homey and comfortable and spacious and Ö well, you get the picture.
Had a fellow the other day show me his new pick-up truck. Man, was it shiny. I opened the door and breathed in all that new car smell. Ahh. Nice. It had all the latest gizmos and gadgets. It could tell you where you were going and where you had been. Stereo? He could turn the tunes up and people in the next county could hear them. Didnít particularly care for the type of music that was playing, (canít vouch for the folks in the next county), but boy was it loud. I admit. I was a little green with envy.
When I walked out on the back porch, wow. What a view! You could see forever, although I only looked as far as the sparkling lake that was filled to the brim in my mind with big, hungry crappie. I complimented the man on the nice new deck with the porch swings, one of which my wife had taken up residence in, and the way it stepped down in three sections. It took a man with patience, love of fine craftsmanship, and an ability to read the instructions on building a new deck from a woodworking magazine to construct such a fine structure.
I could go on, but there is no need in pushing myself to the point of sin in the form of covetousness. Sure, I admit that I could just as well have looked at examples in my own life, but it gives me a sense of self-righteousness to examine other peopleís lives. Anyway, I am writing this and so it is my prerogative. Is there anything wrong with improving oneís lifestyle? NO! Definitely not. It is not the material things that concern me. As a pastor, it thrills my heart to see people, especially Godís people, do well in life. Those that work hard and desire to build a good life for their families. Sometimes though, we have to step back and examine our hearts.
For example. The stories I used are vague similarities to actual encounters that Iíve had. In the first, their home had to be just so, but the house of God was just fine the way it was. ďOh itís fine the way it is. We donít need to paint the bathrooms. This second-hand carpet has a few more years on it; weíll just cover the bare spots with a rug. There is really no need for flower beds. Who has time to take care of them? People can see that there is a church here, we donít need a sign. Whatís wrong with walking outside to go to the restroom? The parking lot is fine as long as it doesnít rain. We can go around the holes in the driveway.Ē And so on.
I too am guilty. Do we need to look too far to see where our hearts really are? Is it alright for the church buildings and grounds to be just livable, when we require only the best for ourselves and homes? Do we have the attitude that Godís house is fine the way it is, when, if it was our home, we would improve on it? Surely it is not the things that God blesses us with materially that is wrong, but the attitude of our heart that might need some improvement. Haggai was bringing attention to this problem thousands of years ago. It seems some things just never change. Letís not be guilty of giving God seconds and thirds. For what He has done for us, He deserves only the best.
Amen, amen, amen! As a pastor's wife I've heard it all. I'll even admit to a little bit of covetousness. Our first parsonage was a home built by the church people. It had orange well water, a kerosene heater in the hall to heat the whole house, and NO air conditioner. Our church people, who lived all around us, had the best of everything in their homes. Made me mad, then. Makes for a good chuckle now. And guess what? We lived.