I’m Not a Snob; I’m Just Better than You
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 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. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Sometimes you and I forget what is important in our lives. We want to be important. We sometimes look down on people than rather than looking up to them.
There is a part of my hometown of Salem, Oregon, that is called Nob Hill. When I was in high school we called it “Snob Hill.” We thought all the rich people lived in that area so they didn’t have to mix with us.
Some of the kids in my neighborhood walked with a shuffle. They carried themselves with their heads down to avoid eye contact and their shoulders drooped. They thought they were poor, so they acted poor.
My mother would not allow my brother and me to act that way. She was a single mom and had a job that only paid $1.35 an hour. We didn’t have much, but she found a way for us to have a home, somehow making the monthly payments. We had food on the table even though my brother and I had to fix it for ourselves many times. (We were some of the original latch-key kids.)
There was only one high school in Salem at the time, so all of us went to the same school. I realized those kids from Nob Hill weren’t all that different from the rest of us. They didn’t act any differently than any other high-school student. What they had were good clothes and money to buy things that some of us couldn’t afford.
But that was a big difference! I knew I was one of those guys who didn’t have very much money and couldn’t afford the nice clothes that some kids could. I was one of the have-nots.
That was the first time the word “poor” hit home. I realized I was a poor kid! I didn’t have many fancy things like others have.
Then I began to think about my home life. I had a roof over my head. I had food to eat when I was hungry. My mother even bought a TV set when we were in high school. She knew we couldn’t afford one and did extra work so we could have it.
My mother let us go to the Hollywood Theatre every Saturday. It cost a dime. They had contests on the stage like bubble-blowing contests and there were prizes. (I won a prize one time.)
They also had a serial movie. That was a movie where at the end of each episode it looked like the hero was going to die. You had to come back the next Saturday to see if he made it. Now we call that kind of thing a soap opera. You know, like “The Young and the Rest of Us.”
As I look back, I realize my mother provided for my brother and me just enough to keep us from knowing we were poor. We didn’t feel like we were being looked down on. We didn’t walk with a shuffle or with our heads down. We were happy kids.
I was a member of Young Life at my high school, and that is where I was able to feel self-worth. All the kids forgot what clothes others were wearing and fellowshipped together.
How about today? Has life sent some of us a lemon? Do the bills keep coming faster than we can put money in the bank? Do our children maybe not have the best clothes in the neighborhood? Some of us might even fight depression because we feel we’re not providing for our loved ones.
We can’t let Satan pull that trick on us! He’s out to fool us and make us think we’re not worth much. The old saying is, “Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me.” I’m telling you right now that each one of us is important. We can’t let Satan make us think otherwise again. We can call on God for comfort. He has all the wealth in the universe, and He wants to share it with each one of us.
Comparing ourselves to others is wrong as well—they are a mess too. We need to compare ourselves to God. That should be our goal because that is all that counts. We are made in God’s image. We are not crafted in a famous person’s image. We are not in the image of the richest man in the world. We are made in God’s image.
And bottom line, if God created you in His image to fulfill a specific purpose and you choose not to accept the mission, who is going to be you? If you’re not going to be you, who will be you? We were created in His image to grow more like Him and follow the course He laid out for us in eternity past.
Back to the good ole days: How did my brother and I keep up with the Joneses? We worked hard. I lived on a farm with my aunt and uncle during the summer and visited my mom on the weekends. I picked berries during the berry season, and helped my uncle work the farm the rest of the time.
Have you ever planted potatoes while lying face down on the back of a tractor? I have. You drop one potato every few inches, and do it for several acres. I was very sore by the end of the day, but when those potato plants started coming up I was as proud as punch, my friend! Besides, have you ever had homemade potato soup? My mother made potato soup clear up to the time she could no longer live alone. We had potato soup many times over the years, even after my children were born. Each time we did, it brought back my childhood memories for me, and they were good memories.
My brother had a morning paper route. He had to get up early and deliver the papers before he left to go to school. He did it, and still got his schoolwork done.
He and I were not only able to buy our own clothes each fall, but we also learned the value of the little things. We took good care of the money we made, and we also had a fun and rewarding childhood.
It’s really not that hard to do. We don’t have to keep up with our neighbors or the people we work with, the pretext of most commercials. One shows a neighbor putting up some Christmas lights, and then the other neighbor putting up fancier lights. They keep up this insane competition until the whole neighborhood is dark from the overuse of electricity.
We can learn to be content with what God provides for us. We don’t have to look at the people on “Snob Hill” and feel dejected.
God won’t ask what kind of car you drove, but He’ll ask how many people you drove who didn’t have transportation.
God won’t ask the square footage of your house, but He’ll ask how many people you welcomed into your home.
God won’t ask about the clothes you had in your closet, but He’ll ask how many you helped to clothe.
God won’t ask what your highest salary was, but He’ll ask if you compromised your character to obtain it.
God won’t ask what your job title was, but He’ll ask if you performed your job to the best of your ability.
God won’t ask how many friends you had, but He’ll ask how many people to whom you were a friend.
God won’t ask in what neighborhood you lived, but He’ll ask how you treated your neighbors.
God won’t ask about the color of your skin, but He’ll ask about the content of your character.
God won’t ask why it took you so long to seek salvation, but He’ll lovingly take you to your mansion in heaven, and not to the gates of hell.
We can let God be the judge of how important we are. We can live off His love, not our paycheck. We can let Him calm the storm. We can let Him carry us when we’re tired. He doesn’t expect us to walk through life alone, and He is there for us whenever we call.
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.
1 Timothy 6:6–8
I have spent too many hours, days, and years, worrying if am accepted or not. I now know I do not need to go any further than to my heavenly Father. He loves me at that is all I really need. Sure, it would be keen if I was the most admired person on the planet with many followers bowing done to me. But I am not an idol. I am not made of wood, or gold that people can lay offerings in front of me. I am just another sinner like many other people are. So I only need to be accepted by the supreme and only God. All other gods will bow down to Him. As long as you have that going for you, you have all the love you can handle flowing through your heart every day. Keep that in mind. Strive to please God and He will be pleased with you and give you abounded amounts of love.
Something to Ponder
Isn’t it funny that the more we have, the more we want?
* Excerpt from: Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World