Before you think I am about to condemn vacations, let me assure you that I am not. In fact, I write this on the verge of a much-needed vacation. In less than a week, we will be enjoying a week in a beach condo in Gulf Shores, AL. To say that we are excited, would grossly understate the emotions we are feeling at this point. Due to the arrival of our fifth child last year and our need to purchase a vehicle big enough for a family of seven, our 2014 vacation was cancelled. As a result, we find ourselves very much in need of some genuine R&R. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard individuals tell me that I “work too hard” over the past year. While I don’t necessarily agree with their sentiment, trust me when I state that I am not going to work for an entire week. And—I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to the sight, sound, and smell of the Gulf of Mexico. I’m anticipating the fun that I have watching the kids frolic in the waves and looking for seashells. I can’t wait to see how Cadence (now seventeen months) reacts to it all. Lots of laughs await!
But those laughs and smiles come at a cost. Vacation isn’t cheap, even if you barter for the best price as we did with the owner of the condo. It’s a sacrifice. But some things, some events, some memories are worth it. Others are not.
Last night we watched one of those cable shows about house-hunting. Well, we thought it was going to be about a couple trying to find an awesome beach front house. It was actually a series about a married couple investigating possible vacation spots. The particular couple featured were from southern California. They had been married for fourteen years and wanted a great vacation. The location was Bora Bora. Their budget was $20,000.00.
I repeat: Their budget was $20,000.00.
Have you ever a seen photo of Bora Bora? Check it out:
Several words that start with the letter “s” come to mind: spectacular, stunning and
Do I seriously believe it is sin for a couple to spend $20,000 for a week in a tiki hut in Bora Bora? I seriously do. There has to be a point where R&R becomes over-the-top materialism. Surely $2,857.14 per night is past that point!
Personally, I do not feel guilty spending around $150 per night for our condo. I can go to Gulf Shores and enjoy myself, thanking God for the opportunity to get away, spend time with my family, and enjoy His creation. But at $2,857.14 per night I would not be able to sleep. A simple question would hound me the entire week: How could I have alleviated suffering with this money?
Beginning November 2nd, I will have the opportunity to talk with another group of college students about this very issue. The course is entitled Christian Social Responsibility. The title presupposes a point: Christians have a responsibility to our society. If you have read the Bible at all, this probably does not surprise you. Believers are to make a difference. One of the books I utilize in the course is Enough by Will Davis. It’s both a comforting as well as a convicting read. Consider the following:
“With every blessing, with every opportunity, and with every bit of favor that God gives you comes the equal responsibility to use it well. Rarely if ever does God give you blessings that He intends you to keep for yourself. He typically blesses you so you can serve and bless others. The more than enough He gives you is meant to be shared so that it can become enough for someone else. If you’re living today with more than you need–not more than you need the next ten years, but more than you need today–then that surplus is meant to be shared. If I live with more than enough and somehow interpret that as God’s blessing to me and me alone, than I am greatly misinterpreting why God has chosen to bless me. He isn’t just being good to me; He wants to be good to someone else through me” (Enough: Finding More By Living With Less, Will Davis, Jr., Revell, 2012, p.65).
In his book, Davis asks his readers which side of the “enough line” we reside. We either have more than enough or less than enough (though some possibly find themselves with enough). Those with enough, should be content. Those with less than enough should pray for provision and trust God. Those with more than enough should pray for wisdom and bless others.
The wealthy couple from southern California are definitely on the more than enough side of the equation. Praise God for that! I trust they work hard and that they have been disciplined to save for their vacation. I commend them for both. I don’t begrudge them a vacation either. Everyone who works hard for a living needs regular time to unwind (God understood this need and created the Sabbath for us). My issue is their extravagance while others are genuinely suffering.
America is a rich nation. Most of us find ourselves on the more than enough side of the line. All of our needs are provided. Most of our wants can be purchased with a little bit of saving. But Davis rightly points out that there is a reason for our wealth. We are not called to build additional barns for storage. Nor do I believe God wants us to spend $2,800 on an oceanfront hut with a spectacular, stunning view.
So–what side of the line are you on?
And–what are you doing about it?
Whatever you do, save your Bora Bora experience for heaven.