38. Fighting the Lesser Gods

We spent too much on a kitchen faucet two weeks ago. I am suffering from Buyer’s Remorse.

Our beautiful new brushed stainless steel kitchen faucet

Our beautiful new brushed stainless steel kitchen faucet

I’ve been trying to excuse it. I’ve been rationalizing it by telling myself that we have saved $$ on so much else for the kitchen by buying at restores, redoing old stuff, and repurposing other stuff. Hmm, the key words here are much and stuff

I’ve been telling myself that it is a quality faucet, and it will last forever. After all, it has a ceramic cartridge, it is made of stainless steel, and it won’t rust. Hmm, the key words here are quality and forever.

It’s difficult to be rehabbing a kitchen and trying to fight that impulse of materialism. The two just don’t go together. I can get caught up in the look I want; the colors I want; the type of flooring I want. The key words here are pretty obvious…I want.

I want much quality stuff forever…

We’ve been trying to be thrifty and balanced — nothing outlandishly pricey or ostentatious. Simple even. After all, there are people living in tents in Haiti; in huts in Malawi; in tenements in this very city. (Remember those starving people in China who would have eaten those peas I wouldn’t eat as a kid?)

Last week I was cleaning out my home library and found this: 20121211-150009.jpg

I don’t know where it came from, but I saved it. And I found it again at a time when I needed to be reminded.

In this time of gross materialism (I mean Christmas, but it could just as well be any time here in 21st century America) we all need to be reminded. It is not about stuff, even quality stuff, even quality stuff that lasts forever. Because as Jesus reminds us, the earthly treasures rust and get moth-eaten — yes, even stainless steel faucets. The forever treasures are what we need to want; those are what last.

I was reminded convicted again yesterday when I read my morning devotions. Sarah Young writes in Jesus Calling:

I carefully crafted your longings and feelings of incompleteness, to point you to Me. Therefore, do not try to bury or deny these feelings. Beware also of trying to pacify these longings with lesser gods: people, possessions, power.

God carefully created us to long for Him. There is a hole in our human hearts that can only be filled by Him. And instead we fill it with stuff, work, family, lovers and mates, hobbies, eating, shopping, sports, even church — you pick one (or two or three…)

These things are not necessarily bad unless they become replacements for God — Lesser Gods. I don’t know about you, but I fight those lesser gods all the time.

When I win, I can feel Jesus smiling on the person who struggles to be like him and sometimes manages a shadow of His presence.

When I lose, He gently reminds me how imperfect I am. And His gift of grace that covers me is the softest blanket on a cold night.

Yes, it is a beautiful faucet. We own it. I will be happy with it. I will touch it every day, and it will shine as a reminder of my imperfection. And in return, it will remind me to give graciously and joyfully to someone in need. I can’t make up for my greed; I can’t be vindicated for my materialistic sin, but every time I look at that faucet, I can remember.

Running Water

It will remind me of my blessings.

It will remind me that I have the ability to share those blessings.

It will remind me that there are people without faucets, without clean water, without living water…and what am I going to do about it?

I am going to give. One person at a time.

Books to remind us about Simple Living and Giving:

6 thoughts on “38. Fighting the Lesser Gods

  1. I love the humbleness of this post. It feels as though I am reading my own thoughts/rationale.

    I think God knew what he was doing when he brought this faucet into your life. Just think of how many people will now be blessed because of it’s reminder to you to bless others! 😉

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  2. This reminded me that ‘objects’ too have souls… when we connect to them soulfully.
    Hope that tap (British) will love you back for a long time:)

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