Thursday, September 18, 2008

"Show me the money!"

The stock market is unpredictable. Home foreclosures are steadily on the rise. Just the other day, I saw a news headline claiming that the US economy hasn't been this bad since the 1930's. Being one of the many misinformed that bought a house with an ARM and a promise of refinancing, I can definitely understand that these days, its difficult not to think about money all the time. I would hardly describe myself as a materialistic person, but when you're foregoing the air conditioning and line-drying clothes, its hard to not get a little envious. Speaking of envious...

The other day at a family function, a more...advantaged member of our family was showing off his new car. I'm not a car gal, but I was droolin. Leather interior, GPS, and key-less ignition. We lovingly call my hubby's car "The Beast." The Beast is a 1992 Ford Tempo with blood-red interior and it does not have those features. The entire family was standing outside, oohing and aahhing over this car, and then it occurred to me- this particular member of the family is an atheist. What are the Christians in our family saying to this person by essentially praising the act of spending what it would take to feed a small country on an automobile? Maybe I'm taking this a bit too far, but I really wonder how often we as Christians encourage indulgence and materialism, not necessarily by living those kinds of lifestyles, but by admiring them. Is it inherently wrong for me, a follower of Christ with very humble means to want new clothes, or for my husband to want the latest piece of hand-held technology? I don't think so. I'm not really talking about covetousness here so much as answering the question "Is the supreme desire of my heart to glorify Christ and make him (not me) look beautiful?" Can I want a new car? Sure. Can I let someone with a nice car know that I like it? Certainly. The problem would be if I acted in such a way that made a new car seem ultimately satisfying. I am reminded of Matthew 6:24:
"No one can serve two masters, for either will hate the one and love the other or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money." Matthew probably new better than most about what its like to serve money. He was literally sitting at the tax collecting table when Jesus called him to follow. What an amazing witness he must have been to his tax collector buddies.

I pray that to the world, my life will look a little like Matthew's. I pray that my life and my actions always will give the most attention to the all-satisfying love of Christ, no matter how fancy the car.


Coffee Snob said...

Missed you guys at church Sunday. Be sure to get the CD of the sermon - it's VERY relevant to this post.

Coffee Snob

Jim said...

Nice post, E.A.