Our society is challenged by “things”! Culture has made most people develop a really bad case of the “wants”. Everyone is chasing the American dream — I want to make it big, so I can have everything I want. Lotteries, casinos, multi-level marketing, all kind of treasure hunts on television, and a multitude of other things — all feed the desire to have more.
Everything around us feeds the desire to have more. Advertisers know how to entice us to want more. How easy life would be if we had these “things”. “Easy terms” make it accessible for everyone. How many commercials do we hear, or watch, in a day. We notice every “new” thing that our friends and neighbors purchase. We participate in a “Parade of Homes”, or an “Open House”, (for houses that we know that we will never be able to afford) — and see a shower bigger than our bathroom, a bathroom bigger than our bedroom, and a master suite bigger than our house. We have come to the point that “success” in life is determined by how much you have.
The problem that a society like that creates for the Christian, is reconciling what they (we) want, with the pursuit of a relationship with God. We have to develop a theology of money, and how we allow it to fit into our lives. There is nothing wrong with money, and nothing wrong with having a lot of money. The difficulty with money comes as we decide on our theology concerning it, and does the cultural view toward money have more influence than the Biblical view. Where do money and things fit in the pecking order of the priorities of our life.
One of our struggles, in developing this theology of money, is why do good things happen to bad people? As I look around, and see the people with money and things (and maybe things that I would like to have), my mind wonders — “Why them, and not me”? Of I’m not careful, I could come to the conclusion that it is because God doesn’t care about me; or doesn’t trust me, or doesn’t want me to be wealthy.
This is not a new problem, just about all of Psalm 73 deals with this struggle. Just observe a few of the things that are said:
“But as for me, my feet almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” (Psalm 73:2-3, NIV)
This is what the wicked are like — always carefree, they increase in wealth. (Psalm 73:12, NIV)
Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence. (Psalm 73:13, NIV)
Not all wealthy people are sinners. Not everybody else is envious of what the wealthy have. But there is the danger of thinking that God does not love us, because we don’t have what others have.
Two things that I encourage us to remember: (1) as missionaries often explain, compared to the rest of the world’s population — most Americans are wealthy; (2) we have to know what is important. The psalmist says — …and earth has nothing I desire besides you. (Psalm 73:25, NIV)
Satan works on me constantly, seducing me with the things of the world. My struggle, my prayer, and my goal is put God on the throne of my life, and not want ANYTHING that this world has to offer more than I want God! May God bless me in that effort. Peace.
(This was first posted on Facebook, June 9, 2016. It has been revised, and posted here as a part of the “Psalms for Saturday,” It is my prayer that it will bless your life. Bill)