Everything Else Is Icing

6 07 2013

icingI live in West Kelowna, British Columbia. A beautiful small city on a huge lake surrounded by vineyards and orchards. I have lived here for 16 years and I still find the views worth mentioning. It is a wealthy area, though I myself am not wealthy (by Kelowna standards). Mike and I have done just fine though, with some creativity and the classifieds. We aren’t poor; just middle-ish and comfortable.

The other day I went for a morning walk up through Quail’s Gate Vineyard and on into a nearby subdivision. The vineyards are all green and full this time of year, the lake sparkles, the robins sing, the breeze is sweet with the smell of blossoms, and the sun is hot at 9 a.m. It is idyllic.

On my way back down I saw a “For Sale” sign on a home right next to the vineyard. It was, as I saw it, a “fixer-upper.” I thought, “Hm. I wonder what that place is worth?” And on my thoughts went: can you imagine living there? We would need to do some tree-removal. A lot of yard-work. The house isn’t pretty, but that would be to our advantage because we could renovate. I took a picture of the sign.

One can dream.

I looked it up: 1.8 million. Ouch. While I was on the realtor’s site I saw another property for sale. Some condominiums next to Green Bay Bible Camp (we love Greenbay!!). It was 1.1 million but I am sure they would take less. Maybe a million? I watched the slide-show of pictures and could imagine myself living there; I could practically feel the tile under my feet. Four bedrooms; that would work. Two bathrooms, and an indoor and outdoor kitchen. It was for sale fully furnished!! That’s gotta be worth something. We could sell our furniture. I could imagine myself sitting on the patio with the glass doors open wide…..I could see myself there all year long. One garage. How would that work? The taxes. Hm. The taxes are $6,700 a year. Could we manage that? Oh, strata fees on top….

I write this because there is a lure to all that. There is something about all that I could love. I could love it a lot. It could set my priorities. It could re-organize my life. It sells itself like it could be “it”…..like it could be everything. Here in Kelowna this kind of thing presents itself to me all the time. Conversely, it also makes me want to cash out; to get rid of everything and live in complete simplicity. But…it sure would be nice to live simply on the lake.

This morning I read about a man named Demas. It is a simple verse in the Bible that says,”Demas, in love with this world, has deserted me…” (2 Tim. 4:9). That little sentence is a whole story, isn’t it? I know Demas. I know him in my neighborhood, in my community of friends and family, in my city, in me.

What a wrestle it is to live on earth: feet on this ground, food from these stores, clothing by these designers, magazines defining our reality. All of this is where we live; all of this knocks on our doors continually and wants to be let in. How much becomes too much so that it causes us to desert what actually matters?

Can I enjoy the “bounty of life” and put it in its place, but keep Jesus first? Will my “ease” tear me from Him yet? Be more desirable somewhere along the way? Has it already?

The fact is, the temptation of a lake house is not a real temptation for me because it isn’t based on reality. But there are real everyday things I dream about that are, and they are not just acquisitions. Sometimes I dream about less responsibility, less obligation, less accountability, less hassle, less thinking, less cost, less conversation, less wrestling, less parenting, less partnering. Sometimes I dream about more of what I love to love, instead of what I am called to love.

The scales of life, which way do they tip? If Jesus is first and has sway, then “all these things” will settle into place.

Poor Demas. He was with Paul engaged in Kingdom work but on the way he window-shopped. He could imagine owning that, looking like that, being like that and it stole his heart away.

Demas deserted.

If the right offer came along, would I desert? If it was so alluring, would I?

I am sure I would not sell out completely, but would I walk away enough so as to no longer carry any weight, bear any burden, work so it counted, parent as intentionally, be with my community like they mattered? Would I? Could I? Have I?

All for the love of this world and its shiny breakable things.

This is what I pray: that I could enjoy this world — the beautiful, the fun, the silly, the pleasurable — for what they are. But I pray that my dreams would be bigger, thicker, and have more bite then all of that. I pray that I would not lose Jesus in a pile of this earth or in a mind that loves the world more than Him.

We live and we dream, we plan and we build, we work and we play. But let the best of me and whatever I can offer, my best sacrifice and schemes be reserved for Him.

Everything else is icing.

— Teresa Klassen.

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