What does it take to be the envy of the neighborhood? A dazzling remodel? A new car? A second home? A whirlpool tub? A two-story glassed-in sunroom? A cabin cruiser?

Not in my kid-friendly neighborhood. Fisher-Price constructs most second homes here, and they live in a toy box. Boats? Why, they are floating in the bathtub along with rubber duckies!

While waiting for routine maintenance at a shop, I saw the uniformed mechanic coming out with something from under the hood that was so furry, it belonged on a mammal. “And what is this?” I asked him.

“Your air filter. It needs replacing. Danny also recommends that for a mere $$$ and one hour, you could be the envy of the neighborhood with three new belts. The old ones are beginning to look cracked and wrinkled.
“Whoa! Just like me at 5:00 a.m.” I thought.

That was the first time I ever considered automotive belts making my truck the envy of the neighborhood. It was more meaningful to me to have the truck in top shape for an upcoming road trip. By the time they finished the work, I had eaten all their bananas, drank hot cocoa until I knew I would be buzzed for twenty-four hours, and read everything on the magazine rack three times, knitted a scarf, planned a party, and balanced my checkbook. While I waited, I wondered. What is so important about being the envy of the neighborhood? Keeping up with the Jones’s? Where does this fit in with God’s ways?

It doesn’t.

Instead, ask yourself, “What am I doing to touch others as Jesus did with kindness, compassion, generosity, and my encouragement?”

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, Intermedia Publishing, 2011. For more chuckles, keep checking  her weekly blog on Button-to-God.com.]