Western believers must be ever diligent to prevent themselves from being sucked into the materialism that permeates the culture of our day. It seems we are often more concerned with keeping up with the Jones’ rather than serving them. Without a clearly defined list of priorities based on the teachings of Christ, we will easily fall prey to the temptation of acquiring wealth and goods that will burn in the fire instead of storing up treasures that will last for eternity (Matthew 6:19-20). We are called to be separated from the ways of the world, not to indulge in them (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 6:15-17). Our lives should look like that of Jesus, not our next door neighbor’s.
We are constantly bombarded with advertisements selling us the latest gadgets that will make us happy. If this were true then businesses like eBay and Craig’s list would not exist, since they depend on you selling your old “must-have” merchandise for pennies on the dollar. We consume with ever increasing frequency, convinced that the next purchase is just the thing we need to finally satisfy our “needs”. For some, their weakness is a bigger house, a new car, the latest electronic devices or food. My personal Achilles heel is books; we all have our vices.
Every dollar that has been entrusted to us to manage is a dollar that should first be spent on doing the work of the Kingdom. We are responsible to carry on the mission of Jesus, and we have been blessed with the recourses to facilitate that goal. Yet we squander the money on useless and wasteful things to the peril of those in need. We are spoiled rotten brats, crying because we don’t have everything we want. We whine because somebody has a newer car or a bigger television. We complain when there is no dessert. In the two thousand years since Paul chastised the believers in Corinth for not growing and remaining infants in the faith, we have learned little (1 Corinthians 3:1-3). The world is literally dying around us, but we remain too self-absorbed and self-involved to bother being the hands and feet of Jesus to those in such desperate need.
Every week we fill shopping carts with more food than half the world will see in a month or even a year. All the while America is facing an obesity epidemic. We stuff our faces with far more calories than we need and destroy our health along the way. Instead of eating “just enough” (Proverbs 30:8-9) and sharing with the world from our excess, we selfishly hoard everything for ourselves. Some us will tithe 10% of our income and feel we have absolved ourselves of guilt. I challenge you to find any other 90/10 split that you would consider fair and just. We are a people of rationalizations and self-imposed blindness. Like children, we refuse to share and seek only that which benefits ourselves.
Passages like Matthew 25:31-46 and Isaiah 58 are not optional guidelines or mere suggestions. These scriptures tell us how we must live if we wish to honor God, live for Jesus, and ultimately spend eternity with Him. We are indeed spoiled rotten brats and it is time we got over ourselves. You and I will face multiple decisions today and every day that will force us to choose between living for ourselves or for the One who died so that we might live. When a choice presents itself, in that split second we must decide for whom we will live. Our actions are a reflection of our hearts. Will we be a people that lives sacrificially as Jesus did? Or will we live our lives as selfish, spoiled rotten brats? How will you spend the life that has been entrusted to you?
Question: In what ways have you been living as a spoiled, rotten brat?