Where Do Your Priorities Lie?

Written by BG Howard

October 12, 2022

Often times, when a person stops to think about the important aspects of his or her life certain people quickly register at the top of the list. One or both parents would usually fill the first slot followed by children, siblings, a husband or wife and maybe even a favorite aunt or uncle. In the case of some people, the most prominent position on life’s gauge might even be held by a pet or a number of prize possessions such as a house or cherished vehicle.

For very personal reasons, as detailed in my column two weeks ago, I’ve spent a good length of time contemplating the significance of stuff and things in the overall scheme of life. What message does it truly convey when one has the ability to accumulate material possessions, have a big house and a nice car? Of course, having the house and car would be directly related to the means by which these things can be obtained. In short, that requires money and, depending on the size of the house or type of car, lots of it.

That is certainly not to imply that there is a problem with a person having the money available to purchase the things that he or she desires. Many people have worked very hard to acquire homes, land, and the like. Some have been blessed to the point of having two or three houses and enjoy the freedom of moving about the world at their leisure. People such as the accomplished financial advisor and investor, Warren Buffet as well as Oprah Winfrey, numerous business owners and sports celebrities often possess multiple properties in the form of vacation homes and private island getaways as demands of life in the public eye sometimes dictates solitude, seclusion, and a bit of anonymity.

When it comes to the concept of money and possessions, many have the wrong understanding of how life is designed to work. Most think the things and stuff determine the quality of one’s living and thus, don’t even realize the consequence of having fallen into the black hole of selfishness that allows life to be dictated by their desire to obtain or possess material items as well as people alike. In truth, the goods one accumulates over time are often reduced, at their passing, to a status of meaningless clutter as the stuff isn’t as important to others as the person who acquires it. Friends who can be “collected” due simply to their consideration of one’s economic significance or social standing usually prove to be “less than genuine” in the end anyway.

On the note of financial influence, a gentleman recently contacted me regarding a process by which a significant sum of money could be achieved in a relatively short period of time. He outlined the requirements while noting “it won’t cost you anything” and was quite surprised at my reply that I held no interest in the venture. Sarcastically, he remarked, “So you have enough money, I suppose? Don’t you want a larger house or another car?” I informed him, “By grace, the monthly bills get paid, a larger house would simply mean more to clean, and the vehicles I currently have cost me more than enough to insure” and that left him utterly speechless for a moment. He then stated my perspective on life doesn’t make good sense whilt pointing out, “You’re supposed to want more.”

The statement, of course, prompted me to ask, “Why? Why does it not make sense that I’m satisfied with my current status in life?” His difficulty formulating a response to my query left me with the need to further explain, “According to the Word,” I pointed out, “The apostle Paul declares in Philippians 4:11 (King James Version): Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”

Society has conditioned us to think along the same lines as the gentleman who made a futile effort to convince me of my need for more. It’s the anxiety that results from the undo pressure we place upon ourselves to satisfy what has been “designed” by an increasingly self-serving social order as something we can’t do without that keeps counselors and psychiatrists in those big houses and nice cars they drive.

Something termed “Smith and Jones Syndrome:” the quest to simply best your neighbor; has been the biggest blockade between neighbors and friends virtually since man invented the wheel. Owning a better cart or having a bigger cave continues as one of the biggest quandaries of the modern era as it seems only natural to want more, have bigger, or do better instead of simply being satisfied. I could be wrong but it’s just something to consider.

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