I think we in America, particularly Christians, have a difficult time deciphering between what is favor and what is just plain being spoiled rotten.
This morning started out as a “rough morning” for me. I awoke in a gorgeous hotel – not five star, but close enough, and packed up my camera gear to walk four blocks to the hotel where the conference I’m filming is being held. Along the way, I stopped at the bakery below my hotel to fill up on a breakfast croissant and a caramel macchiato. Geez, life is tough.
But here comes the truly tumultuous part. As I was walking the four blocks to the other hotel, trying to balance my macchiato in one hand, and my tripod, camera gear, and laptop case in the other, one of my heels fell apart! I tripped on my shoe as the sole started to disconnect from the top part. I hobbled into the conference hotel, inwardly whining about how the company I work for put me in the “reject hotel” instead of the hotel where the conference is.
Alas, I was gracefully able to keep my shoe together until I found super glue at the “non-reject” hotel’s gift shop. I pieced my shoe back together and tried to forget about the unfortunate trek to the new hotel.
A couple hours later, I received a call from my superior, telling me that she wanted me to take the suite she had booked for herself at the “non-reject” hotel. She realized I had a lot of gear to lug, and she wanted to make sure I was taken care of.
I graciously accepted after a few, “’But I couldn’t possibly’s,” and found myself in the most magnificent suite I’ve ever been in. Every detail is perfect, from the huge balcony complete with lounging chairs, to the boot buff and facial mask in the bathroom, to the terrycloth robe and slippers.
It seems like I get placed in circumstances like this more and more recently, and I can’t help but wonder, Is this the favor of God, or am I just spoiled?
America is filled with spoiled people. I just ate a five-course meal with 600 other people in which the after-dessert piece of chocolate was probably more expensive than an entire meal in a developing nation. We don’t understand our own excess. To Americans, time is more valuable than money, and we show it when we would rather spend $250 on a flight that takes 3 hours than $80 on gas for a trip in the car that takes 4 hours. We complain about things like walking four blocks carrying camera equipment, when we could be carrying pounds of food on our heads just to make a living.
I do believe in the favor of God. I think He smiles upon me sometimes and does things to make me feel like a princess. But I don’t understand why that so called “favor” extends so rarely to others who love Him even more passionately than I do – like my friend Pastor Roland in the Philippines. Roland pastors about 100 people in a village that was destroyed by a typhoon a few years ago. Until a few years ago, he only owned two pages of a Bible that someone had given him. He memorized those two pages and prayed to the God that he knew two pages about. As passionate and holy of a life as Roland lives, his meals usually consist of rice and broth. Is he not living in the favor of God? Because he doesn’t get to occasionally stay in five-star hotels, does that mean he’s not walking in obedience to God?
We are spoiled rotten in America. My pastor shared last week in church that the storage industry in the U.S. is bigger than the music industry. Americans spend more money to pay other people to keep their excess furniture, clothes, bikes, etc., than they do on CDs and .mp3s. Is it that we have so much “favor” that we don’t know what to do with ourselves? If we spend that “favor” on things that will burn up in the testing fires of eternity, are we abusing the “favor” and just being spoiled princes and princesses?
I think we as Christians need to live our lives very carefully in regards to money and excess. If we have excess, we should use it on something eternal; not on clothes for our poodles, Lamborghinis and Gucci bags so we can look like everyone else. Are we living our lives to experience luxury, or are we living our lives so that Christ will be glorified the most?
“…give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.”
Lindsay Goodier is an editor, a beach hippie and a marathon runner living in Houston, Texas. Read more of her writing at http://www.goodsforlife.wordpress.com.