I Don’t Like Mr. Jones

10 Things I’ve Learned #3

If you are reading this and your name happens to be Jones, don’t take it personally.   I’m not talking about you.

I’m talking about the “Keep up with the Joneses” attitude that is prevalent in American society.

I don’t like Mr. Jones.

I don’t like someone who encourages people to be dissatisfied with “where they are.”

I don’t like someone who encourages compliance and wants us all to be like him.   “You haven’t arrived until you own one of these.”   “You won’t be happy until you go to Disney for your daughter’s 5th birthday.”

I don’t like anyone who makes you feel like you should spend more time working on your lawn – instead of playing on your lawn with your kids.

I don’t like anyone who makes you feel like you should spend more time at the office or the shop.

So why don’t I like Mr. Jones?

Because I firmly believe the following;

  • Jesus would not want us to be like Mr. Jones.   Jesus doesn’t have a problem with money.   He doesn’t say, “Money is the root of all evil.”   No, Jesus says,  “The LOVE of money is the root of all evil.
  • My time in the banking world taught me that all economic levels, all income levels have concerns about money,   So there is no such thing as “enough.”
  • For every person or family in the United States that you could point to who has “more” than you do, I can tell you stories and show pictures of people and families who have less than you do.
  • If we are obsessed by the accumulation of things then we are not focusing on helping and serving others and we aren’t focusing on what God would want us to be focused on – loving him.

Am I saying that you shouldn’t make a lot of money?   Absolutely not.    But what I am saying is that the mentality that comes with a LOT of money – the keeping up with Mr. Jones can be very distracting and damaging to our walk with Christ.

So be careful about Mr. Jones.   He’s a tricky one.

Until tomorrow……

TJV

God’s What?

Psalm 4:6 “Why is everyone hungry for more?  “More, more,” they say. “More, more.”  I have God’s more than enough.”  (The Message)

Think about that for a minute.  

I have.  What do I have?

I have God’s……   That in itself is an awesome thing.   No matter how you finish that sentence, it’s an awesome thing.   Attention, love, favor, protection, listening ear.  

I have God’s “More than enough.”  

No matter where you are, you have God’s more than enough.   You don’t need to join the human “rat race” and try to keep up with the Jones.  

I can hear it now – what about the people who don’t have enough?  Yes, there are people who don’t have enough – and since we have God’s “more than enough” – then we should be willing to share more.

So ask yourself…..

If you have God’s More Than Enough, what is He asking you to do with it?

TJV

What You Want to Give To Me……

“Dear God,
I am so afraid to open my clenched fists!
Who will I be when I have nothing left to hold on to?
Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands?
Please help me to gradually open my hands
and to discover that I am not what I own,
but what you want to give me.”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Only Necessary Thing: Living a Prayerful Life

A friend of mine just posted this on Facebook.   There’s a couple of things that really struck me about this……

“Who will I be when I have nothing left to hold on to?”   That is so true – so many of the problems in the 1st World stem from our belief that we are what we have.    We are important because we drive the fancy cars and go to the right schools and golf at the right places.   This prayer unwraps that idea and says, “God, who am I if I don’t clink to those “things” that I know don’t matter?”   I’m scared to admit that I’m not what I own.

“Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands?”     I wrote earlier about accepting the cure.   We don’t need stuff, we don’t need a list of impressive degrees, we don’t need a long list of accomplishments.   We just need to accept the cure and then do what God tells us to.

”I am……what you want to give me.”   How much richer, deeper and more meaningful our lives would be if we focused on that rather than getting caught up in the “acquisition” of stuff, of feelings of importance and instead said, “God, what do you want?   What do you want me to do?   What do you want to give me?”  

It’s all His anyway, why do we act like it’s all about us?

Tom