Are You Trying to Keep Up with the Jones’ (Exodus 20:17)

Finance

It’s easy to compare your life to other people’s. Some people have fancier cars, bigger houses, and what looks like a better life. Has God blessed others more than you and if He has, why?

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” – Exodus 20:17

Background:

You might recognize this verse. It is the last of the Ten Commandments that God gave to Moses. If you’re a regular church-goer, you’ve probably found yourself accustomed to the normal church service. Some music, a sermon or message, and off you go. God’s proclamation of the 10 Commandments was much more than that. It was powerful and grandiose. Thunder, lighting, and trumpets made up the large display that preceded the 10 commandments. This was a big deal and today, the commandments are no less of a grandiose event. They’re just as important today as they were so long ago.

Study:

What’s missing in your life? Do you want a higher paying job, a new BMW or something else? You might be like others who look at somebody else and compare your “stuff” to their stuff. Maybe a family member has a bigger house or a friend has the newest Apple I-something that you can’t afford. Comparing your life to somebody else’s is not only a violation of the tenth commandment, it’s the first step on the way to financial ruin.

Some Americans, in fact, most, have a problem–they’re living beyond their means. A Bankrate study found that Americans are over leveraged. They spend more than what they make and the problem keeps getting larger. The average debt of the average household with a credit card has topped $18,000. Americans are spending far more than they’re saving and with the baby boomer generation reaching retirement age, they’re finding themselves severely underfunded.

Americans are spending far more than they’re saving

 

We’re still in a post recession economy that is on a slow path to recovery despite a stock market that is approaching record highs. This is important for each of us because jobs are still in danger and wages are down. We have to live within our means and often that requires us to forego the wants in our life in order to save for retirement, create an emergency fund, or pay down debt.

If you’re comparing your life to somebody else’s, understand this: Economic statistics don’t lie. You don’t need to keep up with the Jones’ because the Jones’ aren’t doing any better than you. They’re likely just spending more. True wealth comes from living within your means. It comes from saving, tithing, and sacrificing early in order to live the lifestyle you want later. Can Christians live a financially prosperous life? Yes, they can, providing it includes faithful tithing and following God’s leading when it comes to spending that money. Remember, it’s not your money. It’s God’s money and He’s loaning it to you in order to do great things with it.

Action:

God’s will for your life may not include financial wealth and it’s entirely possible that you may live next to somebody that has more “stuff” than you. God calls each of us not to compare ourselves with others because His will for us is exclusive and perfect. God isn’t concerned with money and He isn’t concerned with your stuff. He’s concerned with your heart and He’s concerned with each of us living a life that glorifies Him.

Find contentment in what you have in this world because you have the greatest gift ever given: The love of your Heavenly Father and the promise of a life lived in Heaven.

But godliness with contentment is great gain.” -1 Timothy 6:6

Find contentment in what God has given you and resist the urge to go into debt in order to keep up with somebody else.