It Takes A Village – Week 18
Keeping Up With The Jones’s
Vanity. How deep the roots can grow when our fertile soul finds itself a friend of this world. In the book of Ecclesiastes we find who we presume is king Solomon unravelling his roots in search of meaning. And he fails to find any in the vanity of life leading us, the reader, to witness the greatest of wisdom on full display:
I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. What is crooked cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted.
The book of Ecclesiastes is not long in length but Solomon’s writings within it are widely regarded as some of the most significant words ever scribed. As a man who had the world and all of its riches at his feet, he understood how futile it is to chase after smoke. Everything from self-indulgence to wealth possesses the ability to corrupt the heart taking our eyes off of the only prize worth chasing: God’s presence. Everything must come come to pass; all things have a shelf life.
The common phrase ‘Keeping up with the Jones’s” can be heard running off of our lips, but how quickly do we allow it to run off our heart? In our North American culture we are saturated with the message that our success and fulfillment is measured by the things we have and the company we keep. Sometimes coveting our neighbours lush, green, and weed free grass is as easy as breathing. We often harbour a desire to feel elevated in society and these feelings can lead us down a very treacherous path.
Statistically North Americans are in more personal debt than any other time in history. We buy big houses, big cars, and generally live it up big. The problem isn’t with the size of our home- especially if we can afford it- it is with the size of our pride that saddles itself to our soul when we sign on the bank’s dotted line. And it isn’t just what we have, but the pride that comes with trying to keep up with accomplishments. We are quick to hear our neighbour bragging about their child’s recent feat, but are we experiencing genuine joy for their success or anxiety at our own familial failures?
In the village of which we belong, are we trying in vain to keep up with those in it? What is it that aligns us to those with whom we break bread or share our heart? We would be wise to heed Solomon’s God-breathed words embedding them into our hearts so we may not sin against the very God who created us flesh, soul, and all. Let us enjoy all life has to offer by loving those with whom we share life, eating that which has been provided, and seeking the joy we have in Christ. I’m not sure who the Jones’s are, but let’s not make them the standard by which we live.
Father, grant me the contentment my soul seeks by taking my eyes off what world has to offer instead turning my eyes to all you are. May your peace saturate that in me which aches for your presence. This world is not my home and has nothing to offer that will satisfy my soul like you do. In Jesus name, amen.