A couple of days ago we took the kids for a ride to calm them down for the night. It’s something we’ve grown fond of doing, and we always like driving through the neighborhoods where the houses are new, modern, and big. As we were driving, our son Gray was talking about anything and everything he could, ranging from cars to planes to houses. Then he said something that struck us both as incredibly perceptive.
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Just so you know, we live in a house. We know this not because of any paper documentation or system of conventional measurement. We know this because that’s what Gray calls it. It’s a house, plain and simple. We didn’t realize how significant this definition was to him until this night while we were driving.
As we came through one of the neighborhoods, Gray looked out the window of our vehicle and proclaimed, “Castles! Daddy, Mommy, castles!” They were two- to three-story homes, with at least a 7,000 square foot area within. Some had pools. Others had basketball courts. Most had four or more garage stalls. The doors were big enough to fit large livestock through without damaging the finish.
Even at less than two years of age, our son is aware of conspicuous consumption. And as I was thinking about this, it made me realize something about our lives on this earth.
We hunt so often for the next great thing, whether it’s a bigger (or more expensive) car, a larger home, more amenities, or even just a more vast collection of music or movies. In the meantime, people see this, and sometimes only this, as a symbol of who we are in the world. We are seen as consumers, and many of us are conspicuous to say the least.
But according to God’s Word, all of this will disappear in the blink of an eye, leaving us with nothing of this earth to bring to Heaven (or elsewhere). So here is my new goal: conspicuous compassion. I don’t want to be seen as the guy with the awesome convertible that goes 150 miles per hour. I don’t want to be that guy with the “castle” on the lot overlooking the manmade pond, complete with personal paddleboat. I want to be the guy who people look at and say he’s done everything in his power to show the love of God through his actions, his words, and his heart.
After all, that’s how Jesus got noticed. Even with his dirty sandals and simple cloth robe.