Extravagant Spending, Is it okay?
Photo by: chrisscott
While sick last week, I spent the majority of my time reading, working on my StumbleUpon profile and watching TV. One of the shows I ran across on HGTV profiled super high end motor homes. The least expensive motor home profiled was just shy of 1 million dollars.
These RVs were incredible. They included flat panel TVs, surround sound, satellite TV and literally miles of wiring to put it all together. Seats were made of luxury leather and ostrich skin. Interiors had custom LED lighting, mirrors, and real high quality wood. One motor home was manufactured for a couple that had 6 cats. Instead of the area below the floor being used for storage, the area was converted into a luxury suite for their cats, including air conditioning, and a flat screen TV so that cats wouldn’t get bored!
My emotions as I watched the show went from awe, to envy, to understanding. At the end of the show I was left thinking: Is it really okay to spend that extravagantly?
These motor homes were amazing, they really were. They were far nicer than most homes I have been in. The quality and detail put into these homes on wheels was just plain incredible. They were built for people like actors, race car drivers, and the high-end wealthy. One of the couples profiled had 2 kids and used the RV as a vacation retreat…a 1.5 million dollar vacation retreat. When completed, the interior of their coach looked like a night club, with custom LED lighting that displayed based on the beat of the music. It was really over the top.
Robert DeNiro’s custom tractor-trailer RV is 2 stories, with the lower section containing a bedroom, office, small gathering area and kitchen. The upstairs containing a home theater room with more than 10 flat panel displays and all leather seating for more than 30 people. The shower, located half way up the spiral stair case was bigger than our bathroom and had multiple sprayers for a full body shower and also served as a steam shower.
Envy then begin to replace my awe. I begin to think how wonderful it would be to own one of these motor homes. We could take month long or multiple month long trips around the country and honestly be in more luxury than our home. I even began to think of all the things I would like to include in our custom built RV, bunk beds for the kids, nice bright colors, leather seating, a few strategically placed plasma displays…
Then the following words appeared in the middle of my new motor home vision, Proverbs 14:30 – “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”
At that point I began to realize how over the top these motor homes were and how much of what was in them was just silly and way over the top. Motorized beds, power this and power that. My mind then drifted back to our trip to Guatemala where we met and brought home our daughter. I remembered the children we saw living in tin shacks, dirty, hungry, with little clothing. I remembered the look of surprise and disappointment exhibited by one of the pool staff when I told him how much a Nintendo Gameboy cost. A mere $100.00 to us, but months of savings for him. Our boys gave him theirs to give to his two sons. He cried.
I remembered the stories we were told of mothers and children living in the Guatemala City dump due to the available food and scrap for shelter. I remembered the statistics on the number of children who don’t live past the age of 7 due to levels of disease in the drinking water.
I then began to realize how much of a difference 1 million dollars would make to people living here in America, in Guatemala, and in other areas of the world. I realized how much impact those people driving around in those 1 million+ RVs could make in the lives of others if their money was combined.
Is it okay to spend extravagantly?
It came in a sudden wave of understanding to me: I couldn’t own an RV like that or live that way, not after what I saw in Guatemala. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night. The memories of the stories we heard, the people we met, the children we saw in Guatemala would haunt me as I slept.
This would be the case for anything expensive I might ever purchase in my life that was beyond what I needed. An extravagant home, that BMW I want, that nice RV I thought I wanted. My conscience whispered to me: Is it really okay to spend money on things like this when there are people and children in the world who’s lives you could completely turn around?
I realized it wasn’t okay, it wasn’t okay at all for me. I realized that through our trip to Guatemala I saw the “other side” of the world. The trip changed me. God opened my eyes so I could see, and healed the blindness I previously had. God helped me realize that even the simple life I now lead was a life of luxury in places like Guatemala. For me, it isn’t okay to spend too extravagantly. For me, it’s more important to make a difference in people’s lives and have a “heart at peace [that] gives life to the body“.
How about you? Is it okay to spend extravagantly? Have you done so? What’s your perspective? Add a comment!