Mostpeople seek after what they do not possess and are thus enslaved by the verythings they want to acquire. Anwar Sadat
Materialism can refer either to the simplepreoccupation with the material world, as opposed to intellectual or spiritualconcepts, or to the theory that physical matter is all there is. This theory isfar more than a simple focus on material possessions. Materialism can alsorefer to a doctrine that material success and progress are the highest valuesin life. This doctrine appears to be prevalent in western society today.
Materialism as a philosophy is held by those whomaintain that existence is explainable solely in material terms, with noaccounting of spirit or consciousness. Since materialism denies all concepts ofSpecial Creation, it relies on the Theory of Evolution to explain itself,making beliefs in materialism and evolution interdependent.
The first question this worldview should cause most of us to ask is, "Ifall that exists is matter only, where did the natural laws that govern it comefrom?" We now see much more than matter - we see the result of consciouscreation.
Materialism, at its simpler level, involves the focus on material"things" as opposed to that which is spiritual or intellectual in nature.It is natural; therefore, that we may become distracted from spiritual orintellectual pursuits by material possessions, but this is frequently whereproblems occur. We can become obsessed by a desire to obtain them, or simplyfrustrated by the need to maintain them.
The questions this attitude should cause us to ask are, "Are materialthings really more important than anything else? Is material success thehighest goal? If things are all there are, what's life all about? Why am I hereat all? If life is really just about materialism, why should I even try to livea moral life? What does it matter how I treat others or how I live, as long asI have what I want? Why does what I believe about the origin of life matter?"
C.S. Lewis (a novelist,academic,medievalist,literarycritic, essayist and lay theologian. He is also known for his fiction,especially The Chronicles of Narnia) once said,"God likes matter. He invented it." Consider, instead, how what youchoose to believe affects how you live, for as Lewis also said, "differentbeliefs about the universe lead to different behavior." What we believemust either be true of false. Before settling on the position you choose, youowe it to yourself to keep seeking the truth about life, death and theuniverse.
What is the Bibles conclusion on materialism? Here is one illustration. Cmonmom, hurry hes almost here! It was a hot July afternoon and the ding-ding ofthe ice cream truck was heralding the arrival of a tasty oasis from the summerheat. My mother hurriedly dug through her purse frantically searching everypocket and zipper for nickels and dimes to fund my oasis. To a child, thenickels and dimes needed for ice cream were paramount. Oddly, that simplechildhood memory is the basis for understanding the Bibles conclusion onmaterialism.
There are a couple of popular misconceptions about materialism. The first isthat God is in the business of bank rolling our whims. The second is that moneyis inherently wrong. These are contrasting, yet fundamentally similar misconceptionsbecause both are in opposition to the Bible. Grasping the essence of theBibles conclusion on materialism means grasping the essence of God.
The Bible is full of stories of sacrifice and hardship. The Torah gives us thewidow raising a son while enduring extreme famine (1 Kings 17:8-16). The NewTestament continues with shipwreck and imprisonment. The Bible declares thatGod owns the cattle on a thousand hills. (Ps 50:10) Gods home, the Temple, was adorned withgold beyond imagination. How do we reconcile Gods riches with our desire to beself-gratifying?
The Bibles conclusion on materialism is summed up by understanding that Godcomes first. Whats the point? The point is simple. Materialism is the act ofputting ourselves first. Gods materialism is found in us putting God firstso that God may put us first. The Bible points out that God honors those whohonor God. The error that is easily committed is in thinking God is obligatedto make us wealthy, give us unlimited resources, and not hold us accountable inthe process. This isnt sound reason in our own business sense and neither isit in Gods. God does indeed want us to be content and lead a fulfilled life.God does not, however, want us to loose sight of the important, which is puttingothers and God first. More importantly, God expects us to be good stewards ofthe resources God chooses to give us. The Bibles conclusion on materialism isthe message of love and selflessness. It is a message of purpose, not pride.The Bibles conclusion on materialism is simple, Love your God with all yourheart and with all your soul and with all your strength and, 'Love yourneighbor as yourself.
My prayer for you today is that you put God first, your neighbor second andknow that you will get riches by giving more than by getting.
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