Living Like Royalty
The popularity of The Crown and Victoria have immersed Americans in the lives of the royals. The lifestyles and luxuries of the rich are fodder for our "royalphile" appetites, but also for our discontent.
As I watched the the opening episode of Downton Abbey a few years ago, I was struck by the scene where Bates is shown his new lodgings at Downton. As he looks into the bleak and sparsely furnished room, he remarks with a smile, "This will do nicely."
I realized that most of us in this era live with many of the luxuries that only the royalty had access to a century ago. When I lie in my pillowtop bed with my 200+count sheets and microfiber blankets, I know no king of any past century had any better bed than I do.
When I eat fruits in winter and imported cheeses and meat whenever I want it, I dine as royalty did 200 years ago.
When I drive to the coast in a day, I travel faster than any lord or lady 100 years ago.
The simple fact of my instant air conditioning and heat sets me above any aristocracy of any century of the past.
My clothes don’t itch and I don’t have to wear a corset.
I take a daily bath or shower, but I’m pretty sure even royalty didn’t bathe daily in past centuries.
So what frustrates me is my constant battle with contentment and our materialism. I have so much, but want so much more. Why am I so unhappy with my functional but dated cabinets?
Why do I need granite countertops?
How many pairs of shoes does it take to make all my outfits work?
When did traveling abroad become an expectation instead of a privilege?
Have you noticed that no one just mows a yard anymore; we have to landscape and mow geometric lines into the grass? Who upped the ante?
We, in this household, can't keep up. I’ve got to get off that bandwagon and rejoice in every little blessing, every luxury, every joy of nature that God has given me. We Americans have such high expectations now that our standard of living surpasses that of most royal families of the past eons of civilization. Wouldn’t it be great if we could just quit wanting and be excited about what we have?
Listen to what Paul advises Timothy in I Tim.6:6,8,17: “But godliness with contentment is great gain. . . . But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. . . . Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.”
I have all I need for my enjoyment. We have all we need for our enjoyment. I need to learn to be aware of this truth. As a start, this week I want to try to notice it and live it. If you're willing, join me in a conversation naming things God has given us for our enjoyment or struggles you have letting go of "wants."