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Materialism

August 20, 2006

There has been some great conversation recently in this corner of the blogsphere about the battle between money and ministry. I first encountered this discussion at salguod.net, where Doug commented on an article at Cerulean Sanctum. This is definitely recommended reading!

This might be one of the most important topics American Christians could examine. From Luke 12:15:

Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

In this morning’s paper there is an article about the debt problems of recent college graduates, due to college loans and credit card debt. Something is just not right about the notion of pushing credit cards to college students who already have more than enough financial challenges paying for their educations. But the underlying problem is that these students are merely following in the footsteps of their parents. “I can’t be out of money! I still have credit cards!”

The bible is full of warnings about materialism. For example:

1 John 2:15-17 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world-the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does-comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

It is obviously important to know whether our lives are at odds with this teaching. One obvious indicator is whether or not we are living within our means. Many people habitually buy things they cannot pay for today, with the intention of paying for those things in the future. We are consuming faster than we are earning. That is a strong indicator that we are addicted to consuming. Why not, instead, postpone the consuming until we can pay for it? Why not, instead, consume less than we earn, so we will have something left over so we can help others?

Eph 4:28 He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.

The decisions we make on this issue expose our hearts. What do I really love? It can be a scary question. Let’s not shrink away from this issue.

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2 comments

  1. Good have a debt,I wonder where our young people will be in a few years with the ability to rack up so much debt. When did they start issuing credit card to high school students? I work with a senior in high school who has a credit card now to it’s limit, I have no idea what that might be but I fear for our world where you can graduate from college in debt like this. They will suffer. If you look at this hard enough you can see that the very notion can threaten to unravel society. Why marry someone in so much debt? Why have children? Why give to those in need when they themselves are the ones in need?


  2. Many people (Christians included) seem to think that acquiring wealth is their primary function.Materialism is definitely a problem not only with individuals, but with churches. Unfortunately many churches apparently believe their affluence works to draw unbelievers to Jesus.



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