Keeping Up Appearances Part 1
You are not alone. Sixty percent of the generation X’ers have cashed in a portion if not all of their retirement funds to play now or pay off debt. Seventy percent don’t have any savings at all. Many baby boomers are not far behind on those statistics.
Being a money management coach, talks about personal finance topics catch my interest. Recently I was reminded of a fantastic sermon from Craig Groeschel at Life Church which I am going to summarize over the next couple of articles as well as add some of my own thoughts.
Keeping up appearances is not a new concept. It is something that has occurred for years, even the Bible says “One man pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.” Proverbs 13:7 NIV
Just as Craig mentioned I was guilty of keeping up appearances when I was in college, I had to have the layered Izod and Polo yuppie look. The Aigner purse and shoes. No I couldn’t afford the look but it was a look I chose to wear. I paid with credit cards…I played first figuring I would pay later and pay I did.
Why did I do that? Because that was the “IN” thing. But why did I want to do the “IN” thing? Because I was focused on this world instead of focused on Christ.
This world encourages you to compare your success with the success of others. Do you want to be like the person or family who is struggling financially or be like the one who looks like they are barely getting by but yet are living a financially successful life? If you are like most people, you are trying to keep up with the Joneses…you are in debt.
Now there is nothing wrong with wanting to strive for a better life as long as your focus and foundation is in the right place and on the right thing.
If you are living like you are financially successful by buying stuff, and are in debt then it isn’t success you have, it is a image of success. It means you are focused on what the world thinks of you, what others think of you rather than letting them know who you really are. You are not being real with them or yourself.
Money is the great liar of this world. It promises happiness. It implies security and significance but it doesn’t deliver on any of it. Only God can provide happiness, security and significance.
I went through a divorce a few years back. We had money, we were debt free, but what we didn’t have was happiness in Christ, security in Christ and our marriage ended because we were not built on the solid foundation of Christ. I share this as a perfect example of how money does not give you any significance in this world at all.
You may be in debt today, please look around you at all the things you have. All the stuff you have. Do those things bring you happiness? Now look at your husband or wife. Look at your kids and your extended family. Look at your pets. How does the happiness they bring to your life compare to the stuff you have, the debt that you have built up? Think about that for a while.
Tomorrow I will talk about how your actions and thoughts define who you are, you might be surprised what you learn about yourself.