I am materialistic. I am a consumer.
This is something that I’ve known about myself for some time. It’s an emotional need, and like all emotions it comes in waves. Saying that I can’t pin it to any one of the six classic emotions. Happy, sad, disgusted, anger, fear or surprise.
I’ve recently hit another wave of material needs, this time it’s because I am starting to build a home with my soon to be wife. And rather than thinking about real needs and items for our new home like towels, or a clotheshorse, my first thought was that we needed a bigger TV; A bigger TV than the perfectly big TV that I already own. This is just one example of many that Alice has had to roll her eyes at and remind me that we still don’t have shelves to store my current stuff on, or that we need to get sheets for our bed so we can have a peaceful nights sleep.
In some part I believe that this ‘thing’ will bring me joy and happiness, or that it will meet a need that I have. Ultimately I’m able to convince myself that I need this ‘thing’ because I’m a passionate person. I have so many passions and hobbies in life. This ‘thing’ will help me follow that passion. It will also be a good talking point for other people who like to buy this ‘thing’.
Luke 25:18 reads: “Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
Now, a good theologian may shake his finger and say “You’re taking the passage out of context, and you’re forgetting what Jesus says in verse 27”. But this verse always chills me to the core, because deep down I know my obsession with material things, things I can happily live without, is not healthy.
The other night, I was walking and talking with a good friend of mine and he was having good Irish rant about ‘The Rich’ and how greed can change minds and perceptions of peoples place in the world. He was right in nearly everything he said, but never would he have thought that he was complaining about himself or me.
How greed can change minds and perceptions of peoples place in the world!
Relative to the standard of living in Dublin I’m not what you would call rich. But when I compare myself with rest of God’s great earth…. It’s a sobering picture
I found a website, globalrichlist.com, where you can type in your net salary and it tells you how rich you are. I was humbled. Alice and I, on our graduate salaries combined, are living in the top 0.36% of the world’s wealthiest people.
We are the 1%.
It is shamefully easy to be so inward, as I have been, to not see the position in which one has been placed. So, what does it mean to be a wealthy Christian?
Alex wrote at the start of June…
“As followers of Jesus, I believe we have a duty to bring issues of inequality and unfairness to the forefront of public discourse. We have a duty to not only address the issues, but also, in doing so, offer Jesus as the light. Jesus does not accept hurt. He does not accept oppression. He does not accept division.”
I don’t know how to tackle injustice, or to have our nation experience true equality, but I want to be part of God’s movement within it. I know that the blessings that I’ve been given since birth are not mine to keep. I have come into this world, and will leave, the same way every other living person will. I feel the need to use what I have been given to help in whatever way that I can. A lot of us have been blessed time, energy, education, and/or resources that we can afford to give and invest in His kingdom.
It is not that wealth is evil, or that poverty is blessed. But I have to remember that devoting myself to the gathering of wealth and material possessions is incompatible with devotion to God.
God must be the most important thing in my life.