2.17.2009

granite countertops

I have a confession to make. I love HGTV. I love it. I love Spice Up My Kitchen, Divine Designs, House Hunters, Property Virgins, Designed to Sell, My Big Amazing Renovation... at any given time you can catch me watching one of these shows- or one like it- dreaming dreams of new cabinets and wood flooring, granite countertops and spa-like bathrooms. Aaaaaah. That's living the dream, isn't it?

And then I look around my little house and am smacked in the forehead with reality. Tali and Zach crammed into a bedroom barely big enough for one. A bathroom with vintage 1970's sink, bathtub, and sink in a color of yellow that would make even perky Genevieve a little nauseous. A kitchen so small that Jim and I can barely stand at the sink and stove (which are across the room from each other) without bumping butts. Oh how I dream of a Big, Amazing Renovation of my own. How I would love to knock out half a wall between my kitchen and dining room in order to achieve the "open floor plan" sought by all on House Hunters. How we dream of adding on another bedroom, so Tali and Zach can have their own space. In fact, I spent a good bit of time talking about these exact dreams with some of my beautiful church family on Wednesday.

We want nice things. And if you're honest, you probably want nice things too.

But then, last Thursday, I was happily listening to the radio, giving almost no thought to what was being said. In fact I'm not even sure of the context of this comment- but it smacked me in the forehead with an entirely different reality.

Some sort of montage was playing. Snips and clips from the radio program over the past year. And this guy was saying "I don't need $5000 granite countertops to cut my tomato on".

The radio show host (who probably has granite countertops) laughed... the caller went on "Just think how much support that money would be for a missionary overseas?" and then my mind continued... or the needy family at my kids' school, or the family at church that can't seem to catch a break, or a crisis pregnancy center... That's a lot of money, folks.

This is probably going to sound ridiculous. Maybe it is. But I have not been able to shake this man's words from my head. "I don't need $5000 granite countertops to cut my tomato on". How many times have my hubby and I watched these home improvement shows together, critiquing their choices of stone, cabinets, and hardware? Applauding their choice of stainless steel appliances over slick black designs? Dreaming of a day we would own a kitchen like that of our own? Wanting shiny and new things, things I could be proud of.

what a spoiled brat i am.

If I am really honest, we have what we need. We have a kitchen. And a bathroom. And places to sleep, eat, and rest. We have luxuries that are just that- luxuries. Game systems, dvd players, televisions, computers. We have heat and air conditioning, electricity and running water.

Somewhere in the world there is someone sleeping on a dirt floor. A child going hungry. A mother dying because she can't get the antibiotic she needs (the same antibiotic I just threw away because Zach didn't finish his prescription last time). Places where indoor plumbing is unheard of. And I am whining because my toilet is yellow.

How hung up have we become on things in this country! THINGS. When the money we spend on those things could feed a starving family. I know that it sounds cliche, but I am asking you to take a moment and really, really think about that... when was the last time you went hungry (and I don't mean "too busy to eat" hungry but I have no food hungry). We don't know what it's like. We can't remember. This scripture was on my day planner for today:

When you have eaten your fill in this land, be careful not to forget the LORD, who rescued you from the land of Egypt. [Deut 6:11-12]

God is delivering His people into the Promised Land. He has rescued them from slavery and brought them through the desert. It's the moment they have waited for... entering the land of milk and honey... but God knows the risk. He knows the wicked heart and short memory of man, so He reminds them [us]... when you've eaten your fill, don't forget me.

I believe that God wants us to have what we need. But we've become gluttonous Christians, haven't we? We don't want to stop with our fill, we want to eat until our stomachs hurt. We want to put our Jesus Fish on the back of a nice, shiny car. We want to live in a home where we can easily entertain our church friends, and show off our pretty things. We want to go to a church that is "modern" and "fresh". We want to wear cute clothes. Carry fancy hand bags. We want master baths, dual sinks, please. We want to cut our tomatoes on a granite countertop. But what of the money we spend on this stuff? The money that would be left over if we really stopped when we have "had our fill"... what else could God use it for if we would allow Him? What could He accomplish if we were really willing to sacrifice for His Kingdom?

Oh friends, I write this as someone as gluttonous as all the rest. If you happen to have granite countertops, don't think I'm talking to you. This one's all for me. I have things that I want [insert iPod touch here], and things that I will probably eventually buy that I don't need. But what would happen if I really let the Lord take hold of my finances and use them for HIS will? What if as a Body we all did the same? What if our churches stopped looking around at the physical work that needs done and see the spiritual repairs that are so much more important? My pastor, Seth, is quoted as saying during a mission meeting "Well, if we are going to go broke I don't see any better way to do it than feeding God's children."

That's the mind we need to have. That's the heart change I need. Meeting the needs of His people rather than the desires of this spoiled brat.

God has delivered us, church! He has freed us from the chains of sin and death. He has given us the gift of eternal life! What's that worth? How much are we willing to sacrifice out of love and obedience to the one who sacrificed EVERYTHING for us? Are we willing to give "til it hurts". Are we willing to offer our abundance to the least of these? Are we willing to meet His children at their point of need? To be His hands and feet? To acknowlege that none of this is ours in the first place? To stop worrying about whether or not something is "dated" and instead worry about how it could be used for His kingdom? To stop being ashamed by my little, dissheveled, mess of a house and instead realize that this home can be used for ministry? It's a challenge, church. The question is, are we up for it?

Are we willing to worry more about the tomato... about the need... than we do the granite countertop?? Are we?

4 comments:

Marti said...

Becky,

Oh Becky thank U for allowing the LORD to open my eyes today. Thank you for sharing with me

Christy said...

AMEN AMEN AMEN!!!

Lauren said...

when are you going to preach this?

awesome.

Granite-sealer said...

Interesting article on the granite countertops.