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06 July 2009

SpongeBob or the Poor?

I went to a large, monolithic chain store the other day for a specific purpose. I'd promised myself never to go to this place again, but I did it anyhow. It unfortunately made sense on this item we needed.

While we were there, I picked up SpongeBob Season 5, Volume 2 on DVD for $19.98. Now, I personally enjoy watching SpongeBob, though I know some of you don't allow your kids to watch it (and therefore, I assume, don't watch it yourselves). I'm okay with that, certainly, and I hope that you don't think less of me for enjoying it.

After we'd checked out and were heading to our car, I had a horrible looming feeling. Out of the blue, I remarked to my 10-year-old daughter, "I think that was the worst use of $20 that I can imagine. There are people in this city who are starving and I just forked out $20 on a DVD for my own entertainment." (or something very close to that.) Apparently I didn't feel awful enough, because we continued to the car rather than returning it. However, I don't know that I'll ever be buying a $20 DVD again unless I have a massive stockpile of money (unlikely).

I actually feel ashamed admitting I spent $20 on a DVD, but that leads me to want to ask where you draw the line in your expenditures. Is there anything that you will always forego in order to have some liquidity so that you'll be able to generously give to those in need as we're commanded to do in Scripture?


Anonymous said...

There's nothing wrong with you spending $20 on a DVD for your and your family's entertainment. If you live by a woe-is-me-for-spending-money-on-entertainment rule, then you can't take your family out to eat, to the movies, etc, etc. Try to do either of those for $20.

If day after day, week after week you choose yourself over compasion for the less fortunate, then you should be concerned. I know you and I know you don't have this problem.


Dean Lusk said...

I want to be very, very clear that I'm not pointing a finger at anyone. Definitely not you, Leroy.

A general attitude of compassion is not enough. That's how we tend to perpetually reduce the impact of the account of the rich man who went to Jesus. What Jesus said was really uncomfortable.

I've begun to realize that the general negative view of withholding luxury spending so that we can physically give to others is deeply ingrained in American culture (and in the Church). It's seen as a simple guilt trip. To hold a hard view otherwise will have people thinking you're a communist (or worse, a Democrat!).

Again, this negative view is deeply ingrained in American culture, but is it deeply ingrained in the Scriptures?

Remember, I’m just speaking for myself in this post. I’m not suggesting that any of you should take a vow of poverty. What IF this whole concept means I need to ratchet back on eating out, going to movies, etc.? I'm okay with that.

Anonymous said...

I meant more along the lines of "ACTIVE compassion". Not just "oh poor pitiful them". Action, action, action!


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