I mentioned in an earlier post my discussion with Shelly about comfort becoming an idol. (Although I should give her credit for the concept -- she used the phrase and my eyes widened with a "Hmm! Yeah. Wow!") And that idea has haunted me all weekend.
Frankly, these days, I am living quite comfortably. This is due to the blessings of God and to the wisdom and efforts of a husband who does an amazing job supporting his family and managing his money. I'm in a beautiful, warm house, with all the necessities of life taken care of and most all of the conveniences of life available to me and with flexibility in my schedule and much more leisure time than I ever really acknowledge to myself. I am most certainly comfortable.
And I like that. And I feel guilty about it, too. Keith has told me several times over the last few years (somewhat facetiously, and with much affection) that I make a lousy rich chick. Some days, I look around me and feel like Schindler at the end of the movie, fretting over how much he hadn't done for the Jewish people: "This car could have bought 5 more . . this watch could have bought one more . . . "
God has blessed us richly, and have we used it well? Or have we just used it to make ourselves comfortable? Keith always reminds me that God wants us to enjoy the good things he gives us -- that an ascetic lifestyle isn't the pathway to salvation. The hermit living in poverty finds no more favor with God than the billionaire in his mansion, if they're both seeking first His kingdom and righteousness.
But as Shelly said earlier, comfort can become an idol. It's one thing to enjoy God's blessings with thankfulness and humility; it's another to become dependent on those blessings for your everyday sense of well-being. How do I know when I've crossed that line?
And, although I don't believe God calls us all to live as pleasure-rejecting monks in poverty and isolation, I do think there is spiritual value in living lives of simplicity and in occasionally denying yourself certain pleasures and comforts for the sake of spiritual growth. How do I get there? Without selling the house, I mean?
I don't have any answers for that yet. I'm hoping this will open a conversation--internally, within me, and externally, with all of you. Hit the comment button if you have something to contribute to my mental musings on the topic. I'm sure I'll write more about this again sometime . .