High Definition Escape
By Rachel Olsen
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew (NASB)
I sat at a full table in a coffee shop, talking through an upcoming sermon series on stewardship with my pastor. I always enjoy these meetings - brainstorming and researching various sermon ideas - but this particular topic was making me uncomfortable. We talked through issues of money... giving...being generous...tithing...debt...being faithful in the little things...and trusting God. But the whole time I kept thinking about the 42” big screen LCD high-definition TV that I want. I’d been researching it, and desiring it, steadfastly for the last two weeks. It’s a lot of TV, and a lot of money.
Do you ever get a particular item you want stuck in your head? A certain car? A brand name purse? A larger house? A piece of jewelry? Or the latest cool gadget? I think we all do from time to time, imagining how great life would be if we could just posses that thing.
As my pastor was talking about how we need to trust God for the things we need, I blurted out, “I have no problem trusting God for my needs. I know He’ll supply everything I need....food, water, shelter. It’s my wants that are the problem... I’m not so sure He’ll give all those to me, and that’s the rub. How do I handle my wants?” I was hoping he’d give me some sage advice but my pastor replied, “So what’s the answer?” “I don’t know the answer,” I said plainly, wishing I did. Then he challenged us with this question, “What would it look like to want appropriately?”
I’d always thought all my wants should be appropriate wants... and I’ve always known they weren’t all appropriate. Sure I want a cure for AIDS, world peace, and all my neighbors to know Christ - but I also want a cute pair of red flats, a pill that makes cleaning seem like fun, and this big screen TV. There in the coffee shop it occurred to me that maybe I should shift my goal from having all appropriate wants – after all, I’m not sure I can achieve that, or that I can even define what wants are OK and which aren’t - to learning how to handle my wants appropriately.
I had to ask myself, why do I want this TV so badly? I decided it wasn’t to impress the neighbors; most of them would never even see it. I knew it wasn’t pressure to have the latest and greatest technology. I was the last of my friends to get call waiting and the last to get a cell phone ... and I didn’t care that I was the last. I drive a 7 year old mini-van, no automatic closing doors here, and I still have a basic cell phone, no email or internet on my phone. Then I asked myself, when did the desire for this TV begin? This made me realize the correlation between my travel schedule and my newfound lust for large TVs.
I’ve been traveling a lot lately. Since April I’ve had a trip to take about every two weeks. My next trip – all the way out of the country to
So my bottom line was I was after some refreshing escape from the pressures of my life. That’s not an unreasonable want, really, but perhaps my method for achieving it was suspect. I was putting my heart into an earthly treasure, rather than into God’s hands.
What if I could retrain my thoughts to think of time spent with God as my escape from the world’s demands?
· Surely refreshment can be found in the living God more so than in moving pictures on a screen.
· That big screen might be large, but not as large as the One who rules my world.
· It might be high-definition, but not nearly as true-to-life as the love Jesus has displayed for me.
· It may have surround sound, but it can’t touch the sound of the angels in heaven crying out, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord.”
As I thought all this through, my desire for that TV had less of a grip on me. I’ve decided to put off the purchase while I practice escaping into the presence of God, and asking Him to teach me how to want appropriately.
Dear Lord, forgive me for fixing my heart on earth’s treasures rather than the eternal treasures You provide. Help me to rightly handle my wants and to steward all that You have given me. Teach me to want appropriately. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
My Life in Chapter and Verse by Rachel Olsen
In your journal, write about something you’ve been longing to have. Answer the reflection questions below.
When did I begin wanting this thing and what are my motives?
What do I think it will bring me?
What does God say about it?
1 Timothy 6:6, “A godly life brings huge profits to people who are content with what they have.” (GWT)
Matthew 6:20, “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal.” (NASB)
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Wednesday, 15 August 2007.