Thursday, July 12, 2007

Things that make you go Hummmm--er....

I've been noticing a lot of the new Toyota Hybrid cars in Brentwood. I think that's cool. I really would love to get a hybrid when my car finally dies. It's paid off, has 135,000 miles and sounds like an airplane. But--I have a car.

Truth be known, I like cars. A LOT. I could really be into owning cars--but then there's that whole extravagance thing. It's really hard not to want to go into major debt so I can drive the kind of car I really want. My taste in cars varies. I would love to drive a Mercedes convertible. But...I'd also like to drive a retro VW, please.

We're in a series here essentially called "Our money, God's Business". It's convicting. Really, REALLY convicting. Last week we had a drama where a couple was trying to pay off one credit card by signing up for another one while in the same breath buying a new boat. Welcome to our consumer driven lifestyle.

Isn't there a reason Jesus spoke so much about money? Isn't there are a reason why people get so defensive when the topic comes up? If we wore our financial records on our sleeves for the world to see, would it be a testimony to God...or to ourselves? (I am NOT ready to do that--and am talking mostly to myself here.)

What I see more than Hybrids around this neighborhood are Hummers. And when I see them I do frequently have to comment out loud... "Hmmm." It's mainly curiosity. What do those people do? How can they spend in gas what I probably spend on my mortgage? What are those things good for (besides looking really, really cool)?

Rob Bell has a DVD called "Rich" that speaks to our consumer driven lives. We're playing it this Sunday. He says that we are depleting the Earth of resources faster than it can replenish them. It is troubling. And It makes me think that we should re-think the words to "Jesus, Lover of My Soul"...and apply them to all of life and not just that "holy" hour on Sunday.

It's all about You, Jesus
And all this is for You
For Your glory and Your fame
It's not about me
As if You should do things my way
For You alone are God
And I surrender to Your ways.


elizabeth said...

Good thoughts, Brandon. This money series has been so convicting for me. Mainly, how much I rely on it for comfort and security, but also how much I desire things simply because I want to be like other people. Sad and embarassing, but true. I think my greatest concern in this struggle is what I am teaching my children through my words and actions.

chris said...

When one gets to retirement age, the best confort and security is to have a good portfolio, not to live in a mansion or drive the latest car, although it's good to be able to buy a new car and simply write a check for it. My advice is to save regularily, give to others, and invest wisely and live within your means.

One thing I don't like is these environmental hypocrites telling me how to live.

Phil said...

Rob Bell had another interesting quote about Hummers in this interview

"I think it is really important for people to understand that they live in the empire. The empire is all throughout the Scripture whether it is Egypt or Rome. We’re the empire. There are whole systems of our culture that are devoted to protecting us and our empire. That is how it works, King Solomon built lots of military fortresses and lots of energy has to be spent preserving your empire. So in many ways it is like water people are swimming in. Unless you drag them up on the beach and say 'can you see', they don’t see it.

There is a new Hummer dealership in our town. In America they call a Hummer an SUV, in the rest of the world, it is a military vehicle! People in America use military vehicles to get groceries. So many people are so saturated, they are swimming and underwater in the empire and they don’t go, 'wait a second what is going on here.' Then some people get the gift of seeing things from the outside and go, 'wait God is going to judge us for what we do with all this wealth, ingenuity and entrepreneurial power, we’re going to be judged.'"

Beaner said...

Sometimes I don't even think it's a problem of money for me as much as it is a problem with getting security from STUFF. I wonder, if I went into a store where everything was FREE, how many of each item would I NEED to have? Would I only take what I absolutely needed, orwould I stuff my cart to overflowing. I need to be filled to overflowing form God & not my stuff. HEY - that sounds like a good CD title, dontcha think? ;)

Sarah said...

I go in cycles -- and right now I am in a major materialism LONGING! I don't know why -- but I just want EVERYTHING. Elizabeth has a great point -- we want it to "fit in", as well as just because it's COOL! I think the Deceiver keeps telling us, "Just this ONE thing would do it, then I would be satisfied." And, thankfully, the things of this world (people AND things) will NEVER completely satisfy us -- oh, but we try!

Thanks for bringing this up -- it's a constant struggle for Christians, I think. Oh, and if you get the VW van -- please paint huge flowers on it and come give me a ride!

julie said...

Brandon, please get the orange vintage VW van and please instead of orange could it be that great turquoise color? And could you give me a ride? That would be so fun!!! I drive a VW bug and I love my is always so fun and I feel relaxed in my little car. I love turning up the music and driving with windows down and singing loudly...did you know that you ride along sometimes and sing with me?...well, on the Zoe are having a really good time though...believe me.

Amy said...

OK-- Do NOT read my blog from yesterday... I think Scott needs to go forward at church Sunday.

Seriously, Tim's sermons have been very challenging. We continue to struggle with how to best use our resources to His glory.

david said...

Well said, Brandon.
There's a big problem with the disparity of wealth around the globe, and it seems we living in America are much of the problem. North Americans consume about 350 times as much energy per person as the average Ethiopian. The U.S. population will increase by about 50 million people in the next 40 years, but those 50 million people will have the same global impact in terms of resource consumption as 3 billion more people in India!
The richest 20% of the earth’s population has 89% of the world’s wealth, which is the greatest disparity in history. And lest I think that I'm not among the world's rich, I can go to websites like and insert my annual income to see how it compares to the rest of the world (based on info about 7 years old). An annual income of $47,500 is in the top 1% of the world.

Somehow I think we could learn a lot from Zacchaeus who gave away half of all he had to the poor!