Calculate the Cost Devotional Reading and Podcast
When purchasing vehicles, most individuals are accustomed to the 10% markup price by the dealership and are prepared to negotiate a better deal. Yet, everyday items such as brand-name bottled water have a markup of 2000%, clothing costs us 55 to 62% more, and pre-cut meat an additional 60%. Yet, the winner of the highest markup, eyeglasses at an inflated price of 250-1000%.
Last night, I listened to a minimalist who built a beautiful tiny home in a two-story boat explained why he enjoys a no-worries lifestyle. He has been sailing since a young child and desired to own a home that reflected his love for boats and the water. Before purchasing the boat, he established a budget of $40,000 to include the cost of the boat and the remodeling. Although it took a few months to find a structurally sound boat within his budget, he was successful. For $6,000, and six months of hard work, his patience and plan paid off–he is happy and debt-free.
We are mentally programmed to spend our money because of our uncontrolled desires. Retailers thrive from the people who think that they never have enough. Their homes and closets are overloaded with collections of stuff that they have forgotten about and probably will never use. Still, their lack of self-control has disrupted all rational thought processes. The evidence of excessive desire is reflected in most estate sales.
Calculate the Cost: The love of material things impacts a believer’s relationship with God and produces the character defects of selfishness and greed. The lack of self-discipline separates us from God and is not limited to our spiritual status. Unrestrained desires cause many to have impaired physical health due to unhealthy food choices and to suffer from mental and emotional instability–making spontaneous choices that have unproductive outcomes.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” –Matthew 6:20-21
We may have to eat a big slice of humble pie to admit that we have a serious problem–the love of earthly treasures. If our goal is to have eternal life, then we must confess to God that our desires are out of control and we desperately need His help. Human effort is always required before we receive Divine intervention.
Begin by donating to churches and privately-owned thrift stores everything that has not been used for six months or longer. Downsizing takes mental strength–rational thought processes must supersede emotional responses. Giving away excess achieves three character-building goals, it breaks down the hardness of a selfish heart, teaches us self-restraint, and we recognize the difference between our necessities and desires.
God’s command to all believers–help others.
“But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” –1 John 3:17
“Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too shall cry out and receive no answer.” –Proverbs 21:13
Money, clothes, houses, lands, cars, jewels, gadgets…they are exciting but worthless. As we progress into the last days, our focus must be redirected from things to loving Christ. We cannot miss our reward of eternal life because of an intense love for earthly treasures.
“When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, ‘Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospels will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?'” –Mark 8:34-37
Prayer: God, we admit that our desires are out of control. We pray for discipline and the strength to change and redirect our love to You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.