Monday, March 31, 2008

Materialism and it's dangers

As I shared with you last time, one of the reasons I wanted to create this blog,(honestly Beth really created it) was to share with you some things that God has done in my life and one of those things is, He has shown me what real Stewardship is. When I use the term "stewardship", most people immediately think "money". Just one of many aspects of stewardship, so today I want to share some things about materialism and the dangers it presents to us and to those we are closest to.
John D Rockefeller said, "The poorest man I know is the man who has nothing but money."
Max Gunther said, "the type of man most likely to grow very, very rich is the type of man least likely to enjoy it."
The devil makes the assumption that every person in this world, past, present and or future will have their price. I've found that most people will give in to or surrender themselves and their principles or lack thereof, to whatever gods will bring them the greatest profit. God spoke of these same issues in Isaiah 57:3-9, Jeremiah 3:1-10 and Ezekiel 15:1-48. In fact He calls Israel a harlet meaning they would leave him for someone else only if the price is right.
I read once a short story that demonstrates best what God is trying to say. Now you must hold on to your hat because it sounds obscene but truth jumps out of it as clearly as anything I can try to explain. So please hang on and try to get the jest of the story: OK
A beartiful young women who was surrounded by a lot of wealthy socialites sat at a dinner table on a beautify boat. Much to her surprise, a millionaire passed her a note which ask, "Will you go to bed with me tonight for ten thousand dollars? The young beautiful women blushed but responded by note right back to the millionaire. "YES" So they both left the party and while they were walking, the millionaire ask the question like this, "Will you go to bed with me for Ten dollars? The women was outraged and ask the man, "What kind of women do you think I am?
The millionaire was very matter-of-fact and replied. "We've already determined what kind of women you are. Now we're just trying to find your price."
Unfortunately, that's the way most of us are. We have a price. Anything less than our price, brings us to an outrage. In the above scripture God portreys Israel as a prostitute because she is willing to abandone her rightful husband (God) and sells herself to the highest bidder
Now the New Testament tells us that greed is idolatry (Col. 3:5) and we know that Idolatry is serving or worshiping anything other than God. Everything we have including money and material things are either a tool or an idol.
Herbert Schlossberg speaks of idolatrous nature of materialism this way. "The common expression that best describes such a value system as, the pursuit of the almighty dollar, is soundly based in the recognition that the exaltation of possessions to the level of ultimacy is the end of a religious quest, one that seeks and ascribes ultimate meaning. Like all idolatries, it finds ultimate meaning in as aspect of the creation rather than in the Creator. And like all idolatries it finds outlet in destructive pathologies taht wreck human lives.
Sounds like a use of a lot of words to say Greed or idolatry is man's way of serving another god and it will always bring about destruction.
Let's see what Scripture says about this thing of idolatry or greed and it's destructive result.
1 Timothy 6:9-10 says it this way, "people who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."
It appears that Materialism consists of the two things God hates most--idolatry and adultry.
The love of materialism (money) is the root of every evil that we know. It all starts with the love of money, not money but the love of materialism and or money. It causes self destructive nature in all of us to repeatedly pierce ourselves with all kinds of grief. Jesus even said that the rich are at a spiritual disadvantage in Matthew 19:23-24 and yet who of us today does not use the term "I need".
Scripture tells us what we really long for, what the deepest desire and need of our hearts. Listen!
As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for Thee, O God....for the living God
Psalms 42:1-2 NASB
My soul thirsts for Thee, my flesh yearns for Thee, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Psalms 63:1 NASB
How priceless is your unfailing love! both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. for with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light. Psalm 36:7-9
Taste and see that the Lord is good. Psalm 34:8
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Matt. 5:6
Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has siad, streams of living water will flow from within him. John 7:37-38
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost fromt he spring of the water of life. Rev. 21:6

All of us should come to realization that our old nature is greed, idolatry and without a close and clean life under the arms of God, we can go back to that old nature. Only Christ can keep us close and clean and He will not force us to do so. Their are consequences to that disobedience.
We should all pray as St. Augustine prayed.
"How sweet all at once it was for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose! You drove them from me, you who are the true, the sovereign joy. You drove them from me and took their place, you who are sweeter than all pleasure."

Next time, I will share with you the 10 things that our Materialism prevents or destroys.


Greg P. said...

Thank you Eddie for taking a look at my blog. I've been gone all day, but, shortly I should have some time to read your latest post. It looks good just from the title. Thanks again. God bless.

Greg P. said...

Very good post Eddie. I get so sick of the shallowness I see in some people by their materialism. It becomes their identity and they judge people by their financial worth. I get the greatest feeling by helping someone in need pay their bills. I only want to see the look of relief on their face and the relaxed feeling they get. That is the best repayment there is and the only one I ever want.

BethAnne said...

A good word from a good daddy----I am staying tuned!