Comedian Jay Leno, in a special on the American dream, performed at a night club where he asked a member of the audience for her concept of the American dream. "Make a lot of money," she replies without hesitation and the audience murmurs approval. "And how do you get that money?" asks Leno. "Beg, borrow or steal," she replies.
Is the American dream only wrapped up in materialism? Are we not satisfied with our possessions, but always want more? I fear this is true not only as individuals but also as a nation.
Our nation is in trouble financially because of this philosophy of wanting more. Paul gives us the Biblical perspective on this lust for more.
"But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs." (1 Timothy 6:8-10)
Also Jesus waded into this topic very succinctly, "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money." (Matthew 6:24)
When we "love money" or "serve money," we are disobeying the Laws of God. The writer of the two books of the Bible entitled Chronicles tells us that when we disobey God's Law as an individual or a nation that He will bring drought and locus and plagues upon ourselves and upon our land and that illness and defeat in war will occur in God's way and in God's timing. But the Chronicler also states if we repent and obey and trust as individuals and as a nation, He then brings peace and victory and prosperity.
In this land of the free it is our responsibility to pray for ourselves and our country and believe God's promise, "When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:13-14)
I ask each of you to pray on a daily basis for the forgiveness of our lust for money and for God to heal our country. God is good and He will protect us from the evil of materialism if we simple seek His Kingdom.
Pastor Jim Beilstein of Trinity Lutheran Church is a member of Carson Valley Ministers' Association.