The Problem With The Joneses

A crowd of shoppers browse at Target on Black Friday.

Someone once said, “The trouble is that too many people are spending money they haven’t yet earned for things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like.”

If we were to simplify this statement, we might call it “keeping up with the Joneses” (or maybe now it’s the Kardashians). This materialistic mindset an easy trap to fall into and one that will consume every second and penny we put towards it. Yet as the quote above reveals, we do this type of thing for no true reward. All that we are really doing is trying to get people’s attention and have a feeling of social accomplishment.

If we aren’t careful, this attitude can creep into the church as well. We can end up working in the church in order to reach some sort of social church popularity. This is exactly what had occurred with the Pharisees and Scribes. Jesus reveals they were giving, praying, and fasting simply to be “honored by men” (Matthew 6:2), “seen by men” (Matthew 6:4), and “noticed by men” (Matthew 6:16, 18). And receiving praise from people was as far as their reward went. Even though they were acting like they were praising God, their hearts were far from Him.

Whether it is physically or spiritually, having a “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality will benefit us on a surface level at best. At worst it will result in financial, social, and even spiritual disaster. God is especially pleased when our service to Him is done sincerely and whether anyone else notices or not (Matthew 6:3-4, 6, 17-18, 33).

It’s not easy, but let’s stop trying to keep up with “social norms.” They are but ever-changing illusions. Real, genuine value and meaning comes from a life sincerely dedicated to the Lord. When this happens, it’s amazing how trivial all the Joneses stuff becomes.

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