“A start [to reduce our stress] is to mitigate the desire to acquire. Folks with a high net worth are frequently coupon clippers and sale shoppers who resist the urge to splurge…Many times the difference between true wealth and ‘advertised’ wealth is that those with true wealth are smart enough not to succumb to the lure of what it can buy.” Margaret McDowell, “Lieutenant Dan, George Bailey, and Picasso,” Gainesville Sun, 12-14-14.
When I turned the page I found this: “Dress appropriately [for the office party]. Ladies…Lots of skin and lots of leg is inappropriate…Keep it classy.” Eva Del Rio, “Company Holiday Party Do’s and Don’ts for Millennials,” Gainesville Sun, 12/14/14.
Jesus once told a parable we call “The Unrighteous Steward.” In it, he took the actions of a devious man and applauded his wisdom. He ended it with this statement: For the sons of this world are for their generation, wiser than the sons of the light, Matt 16:8. Jesus never meant that the man’s actions were approved. What he meant was he wished his followers had as much sense as people who don’t even care about spiritual things.
We still fall for Satan’s traps in our finances, believing that just a little more money will solve all of our problems. We still listen to him when he says that our dress is our business and no one else’s. It isn’t just short-sided to think that accumulating things will make us happy—even experts in that field will tell you it’s not “smart.” It isn’t just a daring statement of individuality to wear provocative clothing, it’s cheap and “classless.”
If we used our brains a little more, there would be less arguing about what is right and what is wrong. We could figure it out with a little reason and a lot of soul-searching.
Why is it that I regularly overspend? Because I am looking for love and acceptance from the world? Because I trust a portfolio in hand instead of a God in the burning bush? Because I have absolutely no self-control?
Why do I insist on wearing clothing that is the opposite of good taste and decorum? Because I do not care about my brothers’ souls? Because I do care about the wrong people’s opinions? Because I am loud and brash and think meekness is a sign of weakness instead of strength? Or maybe it isn’t any of these bad motives—maybe it’s just a lack of wisdom. Is there any wonder that the book of Proverbs is included for us, and that so many times it labels people with no wisdom “fools?”
Not just wealth and dress, but practically everything we struggle with could be overcome by being as wise as at least some of the “children of this world.” Isn’t it sad that they so often outdo us in good old common sense?
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is, Eph 5:15-17.