All that glitters is not gold

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, August 5, 2020

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According to, the cheapest house in the world is $1. It’s “cheaper than a cup of coffee or a donut or a Slurpee or a ride on Melbourne’s trains.” There was only a picture, but it looks to be about 1,000 square feet in need of a roof. And all you have to do to qualify is “live in Gary, Australia for six months, have a few thousand dollars in savings, and renovate the property.”

The most expensive house, according to, is Buckingham Palace at $2.9 billion. There are 775 rooms, 78 bathrooms, 92 offices and 19 staterooms. It’s been the official residence of the monarchy since 1873.

And if you really want a deal, says you can dream about the most expensive house in America; it’s the four-story Mega-Mansion in Bel Air worth $250 million. “The King Kong” of real estate has 38,000 square feet inside with a 17,000 square foot deck. There are 21 bathrooms, 12 bedrooms, 10 suites for guests, six bars and three kitchens … with a landing pad on the roof for your helicopter. And the selling price includes two-years paid salaries for the 7 full-time staff.

I searched for and never found the cheapest house in America. I did find 436 square feet for $5,500 in Christopher, Illinois, 9,143 square feet for $5,000 in Warren, Ohio, and 9,148 square feet for $999 in Helen-west, Arkansas. You can only imagine the condition of those houses.

Haggai 1:4-6 has obviously been looking at houses. “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this [the Lord’s] house remains a ruin? Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”

I’ve, several times, preached a sermon titled, “We buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t like.” The first time I preached that sermon, I filled the altar with things I’d bought and never opened, things I at some point couldn’t live without and when I got them lived without them. I don’t remember all of them, but I remember a little car warmer/refrigerator; you plugged it into the cigarette lighter. The box was dusty from sitting in a closet.

In any case, Haggai looks around at all the things God’s people were buying  and wondered if they were not buying things they didn’t need with money they didn’t have to impress people they didn’t like. And he thought that money might be used to build and maintain God’s house, which, he says, would put everything into perspective.