Reproclaiming the Everlasting Gospel
We in the United States are fortunate to live in a wealthy and technologically advanced society, where many of us enjoy a standard of living far above that of poorer countries, or our own country a century ago. Even a "poor college student" like myself has indoor plumbing, refrigeration, use of a washing machine, clean water, electricity and internet access. One might have expected that people so fortunate would be free to turn their attention to matters beyond material possessions, and that our society would reflect this priority.
On the contrary, society in the U.S. prizes money, possessions and status as much as ever. We are bombarded by advertisements to convince us that we need everything from a new car to expensive beauty products and shoes. Advice to students focuses on career success, measured by how much money you earn. News stories endlessly compare the current political candidates by their fundraising, their advertising, their status in the polls. The underlying message is the same: Success, wealth and property will make you happy.
At this time in history, the words of Jesus 2,000 years ago are as relevant as ever: "Do not store up for yourselves treasure on earth, where it grows rusty and moth eaten, and thieves break in to steal it. Store up treasure in heaven...for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also....You cannot serve God and Money." (Matthew 6, 19-25).
This does not mean money is unimportant, or that wealth is forbidden to Christians. We all need some material possessions to survive, and up to a certain point, more money and property does create happiness. The message of this Scripture is instead about fundamental priorities. Living a life of service and obedience to God is the first priority. If we are blessed with material comforts, that is good, but it is not the most important thing in life. A person who is not at peace with God and within themselves cannot find happiness from any number of possessions.
I pray for all of us, that we may find our way to the lives God would have us live, whether or not they fit our society's standards for "success."
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Very good post, Annette. We humans seem to have a hard time accepting that only when we allow God to reign over all, then everything else falls into correct order. And, I want to say, we can only allow God to reign by making hearing and following His voice our number one priority.
Failure to hear and follow the voice of God results the maladies we see around us in the world today. Such maladies are not amenable to human solutions devoid of the power and direction of God.
Well stated, Annette. I recently read a biography of Churchill that Larry Arnn wrote. In this biography, Mr. Arnn wrote of Churchill's concern for the workers whose wages were sufficient for their basic needs, or, if their wages were sufficient a sickness, injury, or some other mishap would put them in dire straits. The description of their plight moved me deeply like I had never been before (I don't know why I hadn't been moved before but praise the Lord for giving it to me now) which allowed me to experience the injustice of their plight. Just yesterday I heard a report of Africans (I forget which country) who face severe food shortages by the end of the year and I could only think of a mother desperate to feed her children and there being nothing to feed them. It was never God's plan for people to starve. He set up the way the Israelites were to care for the poor among them, for they will always be with us, by their kin providing for them when necessary or when family can't, then others in the community. I believe the free market is the best economic system for America. Yet this system requires the goodwill of man, which, I think, this country is losing as it's becoming more secular. We haven't kept in the Light as a nation. Here's a prayer I recently read in Lamentations 3:40-42, which I pray for our country every night.
Let us examine our ways
and turn back to the Lord.
Let us open our hearts to
God in heaven and pray
"We have sinned and
rebelled, and you, O Lord,
have not forgiven us."
I go on to pray that as a nation we will humble ourselves before Him and ask His forgiveness of our sins so that we may become again one nation under God. Without Him we are disintegrating. I miss Him in our culture. I miss His comfort and joy.
Thank you for your thoughts, Annette. I appreciated what you had to say.