The Cost of Living: Comfort and contentment

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This is not the whole answer to the Cost of Living crisis because what I’m about to say does not apply to many Christians at the moment and will not apply over the next few years. There are many Christians for whom the cost of living crisis will exacerbate existing hardship and poverty or draw them into hardship and poverty.  I will be returning to that point later on.

However, part of the answer for some of us is found here:

12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

For some of us, the present danger is that we have learnt to confuse contentment with comfort. We see this when a lost of convenience and comfort is seen as persecution. I think we’ve seen that a few times over the past couple of years as Christians have responded to circumstances. Bing required to wear face masks for example may be inconvenient and uncomfortable but it is not suffering and persecution. Similarly, when engaging on the subject to proposed Sunday car bans I’ve picked up that the reason that a lot of people see this as potential persecution is because it might affect threir ability to get to their preferred church of choice quickly and in comfort.

So, when we come to the question of this current cost of living crisis, it does mean that fuel and food prices are going up rapidly.  This will sadly push too many people below the poverty line and cause real suffering. However, for some of us it is worth remembering that we are now used to being able to regulate our home temperatures at a steady 21 degrees Celsius day and night with the option of using our phones to boost the hive on the way home.  We have got used to a constant supply of fresh, rich, luxurious and varied food all year round.  We expect to be able to jump in our cars for half mile journeys so that we can set off at the last minute and stay warm and dry in the winter as well as cool and sweat free in the summer.

However, it isn’t that long back that:

  • People would normally expect to walk or get public transport to work or school in all weather conditions.
  • You didn’t have central heating, the gas fire went on for a few hours in the evening but apart from that you stuck a woolly jumper on. 
  • Food was seasonal, frozen or tinned. 

It may be that for some of us, the cost of living crisis may mean that we have to reduce our experience of comfort both to live within our own limits and so that we can help others who are more in need. 

This means that we will be challenged about how dependent we are on comfort and convenience for contentment. It will teach us to be better stewards of what God has given us and more dependent on Christ for our joy.

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