A while back, I wrote about Frugality, Idolatry, and Stewardship. Almost 3 years, to be exact. I was 24 at that time; now I’m 27. At that time, we had just survived a time of living off of $500 to $600 a month; this year we could have still qualified for food stamps if so desired, but our income is far more plenteous than those tight times that I originally wrote on the issue. We lived in the “ghetto;” now we’re staying in a house in a nice, established neighborhood. A lot has changed. And my perspective has changed to a degree. I’ve seen life from differing angles. But I still have a desire to have “more,” even if that desire for more is masked in simplicity, simply wanting more financial security or still getting more nice stuff for less (a.k.a., greed). The idol has morphed, and I needed to be reminded of its presence once again. In and of themselves, those efforts are not necessarily wrong; but they can quickly (and dare I say, frequently?) become idols.
I have had many laughs with my husband both of my observations of myself and of others having “competitions” telling how we got things for free or for such a good deal. Almost to the point where we (as in myself, and those I’ve observed having these conversations) would be embarrassed to say we actually paid full price for something. The other night we just sat there while two women told about each item and how little they’d gotten it at a yard sale. (I’ve done it, too!) For some reason, in our circles we don’t hear a whole lot of compliment responses like, “Yeah, I got that microwave at Sears for $99!” Didn’t get it at a yard sale, thrift store, or major clearance? Better not say anything at all… 🙂 (And by the way, please feel free to tell me about your great deals; I’m not going to judge your motives in telling me. And I won’t tell you to stop until you become odious.) While financial stewardship is important, it’s important to realize that Christians are called to be stewards over all God has given us. Sometimes that means we are willing to put our efforts and time to things that may cost us a little more financially; of course, there are times when we must be extremely financially so-called frugal. We often tend to be reactionary in our response to popular error, so I could easily see us reacting to the current popularity of frugality and use it to justify extravagance and affluence. Yet we must consider what we’ve allowed to become idols! Tim Challies recently wrote another article, The Heart of Frugality, on the subject, which I found well worth reading. Please do read it! We must always keep in mind that anything can become an idol (even simplicity!), but also that God does want us to enjoy the things He has given us..