Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Not too big, not too small, just right

We were with friends this weekend who just purchased a new house. Four bedrooms, three baths, large basement, all to accommodate a growing family and extended family who may need to live with them in the near future. I was drooling over the goodly sized mud room and kitchen and could only gaze in awe at the laundry chute. It’s a great house that will be a wonderful home. When I told the wife how much I loved the house, she looked at me quizzically and asked, “Do you think it’s too big?” Apparently some had commented on the size of the house, causing the owners to question their decision.

I was appalled. Appalled. Beyond appalled.

It’s a great house with plenty of room for this family who regularly hosts groups and friends. The house will be well-used by many who are well-loved by this family. It will be a wonderful investment on both financial and personal levels.

But what if it’s not? What if this family wanted a 5,000 square foot house to use only for themselves? No dinner parties, no small groups, no family activities, only a bunch of space for the five inhabitants. Would that be wrong?

(For the sake of any Democrats and social justice crazies who may be reading – welcome, by the way – the answer is no.)

One thing my father taught me was to never look in anyone else’s pocketbook. We can never know how much someone scrimped and saved to get what he owns. We can’t know how much of his life he gave up to schooling or long hours on the job – or several jobs – in order have what he has. Should we say someone that dedicated to education and work shouldn’t be rewarded monetarily?

Of course, there are many who give time for their education and will never be compensated for those hours; if you go into social work or education or the ministry you know you’ll never earn what a doctor or lawyer earns. But you know that going in.

I am weary of people claiming they know how to spend other people’s money. There’s an entire magazine with accompanying blog telling Christians how they ought to be spending their cash – buying a big house is most definitely not on their list. If those folks want to write about their opinions, fine. But I draw the line when they tell me, “Jesus would not want you to buy a big house.” Seriously? He told you that? I thought he was concerned with the love of money, not the careful giving and spending of it.

As long as the owners of the house can pay the bills what business is it of ours how big the house is?

The family we visited this weekend is lovely, and their home is, too. I hope each time they walk into their wonderful mud room they are reminded of God’s blessings and thank Him for their home that, to quote Goldilocks, is “just right.”