Thursday, March 22, 2007

one man's rembrandt, another man's rent money

I have to laugh sometimes about how a person's place in life affects the way she sees things, particularly money. Take my household, for example, given the possibility of recieving $1,000:

Roommate #1 thinks, "That's gonna buy a lot of Jimmy Choo's."
Roommate #2 is thinking, "I wonder if I could get a ticket to Uganda for that?"
Roommate #3 is asking herself the same thing, but wants to visit Russia. Dollars to rubles, that's what she's thinking of.
Roommate #4 is considering something practical, though none of us can guess what that is.
Roommate #5...that's me. And I am thinking, "Do you know how many credit hours that could cover?"

But it seems that our perspective on money goes deeper than our paricular place in life. To some extent, I think God has purposely created us with unique lenses for seeing all of life, including money. This becomes clearer and clearer in my own life as time goes by.

I spent some time in a rather expensive home earlier this week. You know the type: gargantuan spaces, leather and oak everything, patios and waterfalls and wrap-around decks. A few months ago, I was in an even crazier house, complete with a small indoor basketball court. Growing up near Aspen, I saw things that one-upped even that. Pretty exorbitant, if you ask me.

Though it's hard, I know I can't judge the heart in these situations. These people may have amazing hearts, and they may use all that money in a lot of other generous ways. Instead of judging, I am trying to learn to listen to voice of the Holy Spirit speak through my gut reactions. I want to open my ears to let him tell me how I've been made to see the world.

Tuesday morning, I sat at the table in one of these huge houses. For a while, I stared at a huge painting on the wall. It was a nice piece of art, really, complementing the room well. But all I could think was how that painting alone could pay a few months rent for a low-income family. My gaze shifted to a gizmo on the wall that tells the outside temperature and several other weather details (there was another upstairs). I sepculated about how much they had cost, and whether or not it would pay the bill to heat up a home that was as cold inside as the gizmo said it was outside. I glanced down at the large table in front of me. I wondered if it might be better used in a home where the family is too large to fit around their much smaller table.

Great art, cool gizmos, fancy furniture...these are all nice things to have. They aren't inherently bad. In fact, if I am honest I will admit that part of me would like to have them, too. Still, unless I squelch it, the Spirit's voice is loud and clear. The lens he has given me is tuned to see the poor. There is nothing superior or inferior about it; that's just how I'm made. Now, the task is to see what God wants me to do with how I see the world.

So I ask you: When you are giving the Spirit room to speak, how do you see the world? Now what are you going to do about it?


C & A said...

Great post Katie, next time I am in your proximity it would be great to sit down and chat again.

Olin said...

Like my mentor says: "Live simply so others may simply live." I guess I need to give to some of these humanitarian aid projects-- not just live simply so I can buy more toys.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Katie. You hit it on the head. I do indeed love shoes. =)