Thursday, December 20, 2007

A money and time and contentment post

I'm currently considering buying a house. I'm well in the financial way to do so, and even to buy something that needs work. I'm quite ready to start doing my own architecture for once.

I've tried to buy property twice in the past, and the Lord had other ideas. Of course, His ways were best, and I'm still in an apartment. Looking back, I think the fruit of apartment dwelling has been mostly maturity. I'm in a new church, my job is becoming more of my life now, and I'm feeling that desire to "settle in" somewhere. Should the Lord have other plans, I won't bemoan them.

God's Word says that godliness with contentment is great gain. Paul learned to be content in all circumstances. And truly, in all of life, there are no perfect circumstances. Ever. I have been content with my nomadic existence for years. The Lord has provided the grace for that. Now that I am desiring more responsibility (right Kim?), and with that a responsibility to teach those younger than I about responsibility, I have pondered much about this decision.

We live in a society that takes the path of least resistance. While I should not throw myself into dire straits, I ought to consider if another path will be more beneficial both to my character and my earthly work. I consider how easy it is to call maintenance when something breaks. Or not have to mow the lawn. This isn't a bad thing. They were blessings when I needed them. But I'm moving out of that cocoon phase and into a phase where I have a lot of opportunities, and I ought to stop sitting on what I am capable of, and what will help me learn and grow in maturity. Currently, I see habits I have that are characteristic of someone who doesn't have to consider much, who relies thoughtlessly on others, and who rarely experiences an inconvenience (for goodness sake, I walk to work!). I would like to move past that.

I know that if I were to stay in an apartment, I could be content. And that if I buy a house I could be content. Because my contentment is not based on reaching the limits of an ever-increasing ceiling, but on God. Craving something "new" and "exciting" only leaves one worn out and depressed when the fun is gone. If I move into a house, it will be "fun" to paint and "fun" to move walls around. But there will be days when I come home and I will wish I had more room, or higher ceilings, or a second floor, or that I didn't live in a construction zone, that the painting was done, and that it could all be over finally. There is always something better out there.

Which leads me to another thing. The "have it right now" problem. I am a card-carrying member of the Entitlement Generation. I am learning how to trust in the fact that this is all temporary. And that anything I do must be done with the gospel in view. I also must learn that time is a factor that must be embraced. I see myself running away from anything inconvenient, that would take too much time. Instead of allowing myself to take things one step at a time, I want to see the end right now, and I want to be there right now. Patience is clearly a virtue I must work on. Even the cost of renovation. I may only be able to afford one thing at a time, and that even only months apart, without taking out small construction signature loans on zero equity. Just save and pay zero interest. And be content with the house where it is at the moment instead of jumping into debt (at interest) so that I can have it all RIGHT NOW!!! Be patient. And remember that this isn't for enjoying NOW, as much as it is for being responsible with my resources, and being the light of truth to others, reflecting the change that has been made by my Lord. I just keep thinking, not even sitting in a finally finished (according to plan, of course) house is as good as being matured by the hand of the Lord, and holding fast to the hope I have in Him. That makes anything I enjoy here on earth enjoyable to begin with.


At 4:28 PM, Blogger Connie said...

Well, I'd say there's much wisdom (and insight) in these ponderings of yours! I'll be very interested to see what develops! :-)

At 5:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You could do all of that could just come and work on my old house which needs much construction. :o)

At 5:52 PM, Blogger Kim said...

Oh, I'm with Connie. I think your ponderings are very good ones.

One thing about having a house is that it adds a whole new dimension to hospitality.

At 7:00 PM, Blogger Marcian said...

Kim, YES!!!

Thanks so much for confirming what I'm thinking, too. I cannot host dinners for the older couples or the college girls in my church who I'd like to get to know better in my tiny, tiny apartment.

Kim, thanks so much for that encouragement!

At 10:01 AM, Blogger mark pierson said...

I'm impressed with the depth in your thought processes. Wow.

At 5:35 PM, Blogger Bobo B'nai said...

I am truly blessed to see such wisdom and insight from one of God's handmaidens. It is clear you truly wish to see God work through you in whatever way He chooses.

The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.---Proverbs 22:7

10 years ago I owned a beautiful home. Situations and circumstances that included $12,000 in ministry debt placed that home into the hands of another. Watching that happen was second only to losing a family member in emotion and grief. My beloved learned to trust her husband's skills there and picked up some of her own when we built our porch and toolshed.

My stand on debt in the church and in the lives of individuals will forever keep me voted out of the pulpit of the local congregation. A mortgage is rent due on money borrowed from a bank. The way it is laid out and paid out ensures the maximum amount of profit on their part. At no point in the mortgage do you own that home until it is handed over to you by the bank.

We Americans have been raised up to believe that it is a natural part of life, like air, food and water. It is in fact, going to Egypt for help in a situation that only God should be called on and trusted to provide for. Debt saps ministries of needed funds and hands them over to banks that have no interest in seeing the Gospel preached. Debt saps individuals of the freedom to go when called and provides an impetus for strife and discord in the home.

Rent is not "wasted" money. It is payment for living space, a cost that has been there in the lives of people since the fall. Rent provides services not available to a mortgage holder. Ask a homeowner who pays for the water heater that bursts at 2:30 in the morning and then cleans it up. A renter may have a foot dragger for a landlord, but in the end, that water heater is paid for and cleaned up after by someone else.

There are enough debts to take on in life without having to willingly and willfully place the yoke upon ourselves. December 17, 2004 gave me one of the best Christmas gifts outside of God's redemption---a letter from the bank saying that the last of $48,000 in debt that I blessed myself with in Jesus' name was paid in full. I do well each day never to forget that relief.

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.---Matthew 6:24-34

There are bigger apartments out there. You are a precious sister, I hope I haven't come off too harshly. Blessings, grace and peace to you and yours this Christmas. B

At 7:22 PM, Blogger mark pierson said...

Marcia, Merry Christmas to you and yours!!!

At 7:51 PM, Blogger Baptist Girl said...

I am just going around and wishing all my favorite bloggers a Very Merry Christmas. I pray that you have a wonderful Christmas and that the days and years ahead are full of joy for your family and most of all joy in Christ. I am so glad you are my brother in Christ!
God bless,


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