The Cost of High Living

Lowell Blasingame
Birmingham, Alabama

When persons get together now, one of the most frequently discussed topics is the high cost of living. Inflation is a threat to every American. Not only does it concern us as individuals, it also concerns us as a nation. Decreases in the value of the dollar result in the loss of prestige and power for our country. While inflationary trends are matters of concern to all, very few stop to consider the cost of high living.

What do we mean by the cost of high living? When we discuss the high cost of living we have in mind the expense involved in providing the essentials for maintaining life such as food, clothing, shelter, etc. However, when we talk about the cost of high living we have in mind the price that one has to pay for leading a way of life in which he abandons moral and spiritual restraints and gives himself to the fulfillment of the lusts of the flesh. Some refer to this kind of life as "living it up" or "really living." Without considering the financial side of the matter, this can be the most expensive way of life that one can choose.

Belshazzar became king of Babylon during the zenith of its glory and power. He decided to do some high living so he gave a feast for a thousand of his lords and the wine flowed freely. To add to the occasion he commanded that the vessels of gold and silver which his father had brought from the temple of God in Jerusalem be brought that his princes and ladies might drink wine from them. They really lived it up as they desecrated these sacred vessels and praised their idols. Suddenly the fingers of a man's hand appeared and wrote mysterious words upon the plaster of the wall and the king became afraid and called for his astrologers and soothsayers to react and interpret these strange words but they could not. Finally Daniel was brought to the king and as he interpreted the words he said, "mene; God hath numbered thy kingdom and finished it. tekel; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. peres; Thy kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians" (Dan. 5). And Belshazzar became aware of the cost of high living!

A young man once decided that he wanted to be on his own, so he came to his father and asked for his portion of goods and having received it took his journey into a far country. There he really lived it up until his fortune was depleted and a famine came upon the country and he began to be in want for the necessities of life. He joined himself to a citizen of that country who sent him into the fields to feed swine and his destitution was so great that he felt like filling himself with the husks that he fed the swine. None of his former fair-weather friends came to his aid and in his hunger and destitution he became aware of the cost of high living (Lk. 15).

All high living does not involve one's pursuing the paths of licentiousness and immorality. With some, high living is an obsession for a life of comfort and ease that blinds one to his duty and obligation to God. Jesus told of a man whose fields brought forth so abundantly that he built new barns for the harvest and having laid it up, he then told himself to be at ease, to eat, drink and be merry. To him a life of comfort and ease was high living but that night his soul was required of him and he had neglected making preparation for it and he learned the cost the high living! (Lk. 12)

The cost of living may be high but I am not anxious to quit paying it, are you? However, the cost of high living is a different matter. It's too expensive for me and I am not willing to pay the price. Are you?

May 27, 1971