The Standard of Living: Chapter 16

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 10
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When young people establish a new home they should give consideration to the standard of living which should be theirs. By this we mean the cost of the house, the manner of its furnishings, the costs of clothing, food, transportation, etc. It neither pleases God nor promotes happiness in the home to live beyond, or even up to the last cent of, our income.
In a day like the present when everything abounds for the convenience of the home, it is very easy to set up a standard that is beyond the ability of the young husband to provide. There is also a tendency with young people to want to begin their own homes at the same standard in which their parents now live, forgetting that in most instances their parents started out quite simply, and lived within their means. That "Godliness with contentment is great gain," is important to remember at all times. It is not the style of our homes, nor the model of the automobile, that are the great criteria of how a Christian is getting on; but rather, is there godliness and contentment?
Some of the happiest Christians are those who have little of this world's goods, but who enjoy Christ and the things of God, and go on in contentedness of spirit in temporal things. A striving for the things beyond one's circumstances will help to produce leanness of soul on the one hand, and the very opposite of happiness on the other.
Even from a purely worldly standpoint, it is a happy experience when young married people find it pleasurable employment to labor together on fixing up an old house, or refinishing some furniture, or on any of the many things that go to make up a home. We have heard unsaved people remark that the surest way to make newly married young folks discontented is to give them everything they could wish, so that there is nothing left to work toward. "Godliness with contentment" would, however, make us content in whatever circumstances we are.
There is another matter that deserves a few remarks. One of the greatest snares for the dear young people is that of going into debt. It is so easily done, and so often urged on them by high-pressured salesmanship, that they may slip into it before they realize. In this way their income may be encumbered for years to come. Is not this boasting ourselves of tomorrow? We do not know what a day may bring forth, and to load ourselves with obligations which can only be met by sustained employment at a certain level of income is little short of boasting of the future. God has not promised a certain amount of money for each year to come, but He bountifully gives to us day by day.
Buying on the installment basis tends to inflate our standard of living, and to raise it by borrowing against the future. We do well to remember that debt is a yoke, and often a heavy one, for "the borrower is servant to the lender." Prov. 22:77The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. (Proverbs 22:7).
We must also consider that if we were incapacitated, and thus unable to meet our obligations, or if the Lord would come and take us home (this is a distinct probability at any time), the one to whom we owe would be the loser. Would this be honorable? would it comport with a proper Christian testimony?
None could approve of a Christian's defrauding a creditor. There is, however, in connection with the subject to our causing loss to another, something that might be said about the matter of secured loans, or mortgaged real estate. In such cases the title to the property has been retained by the creditor, or else it is easily regained by him, and thus he would not suffer loss, but would simply repossess his property in which there is still the same value.
It is deplorable when Christians feel that they have to keep up with their neighbors, or even with their brethren in Christ. Let us seek honestly to live within the means the Lord has given us, going on therein with thanksgiving and contentment, "in all things willing to live honestly.”