Pastor Tim Howard
April 4, 2009
When I was 8 years old, a 7-inch black and white portable television set caught my eye. Immediately I knew I had to have it. One small problem stood between the purchase, and me, however; I couldn’t afford it! I didn’t have the money! I didn’t have a credit card!
If you’re like me, then you really like things! I personally enjoy this technological time in history and I have accumulated a fair amount of ‘things’ for myself since that experience fifty years ago. I like cell phones, computers, navigational systems, 42-inch flat screen HD televisions, homes with a pool, cars that are fast and the list goes on. Wherever you look today, advertisements seem to tell you that wealth and material things will make you happy. What they don’t tell you is when you acquire a lot of stuff, more and more will be required of you to manage and maintain those items. Material things seem to produce far less than the advertisements promise.
The blessing of material wealth is not necessarily wrong from a Biblical perspective. In 1 Tim 6:10, we are told it’s not money but the “love of money that is the root of all kinds of evil.” When people ‘love’ money they stop worshiping God and start worshiping another god. The Bible calls this other god “mammon.” The term describes greed, wealth, avarice and materialism among other things. The people who love money and material things will often succumb to a disease called “Affluenza” as well. If you’re wondering about this word, it was used by John de Graaf, David Wann, Thomas H. Naylor and David Horsey when they wrote a book using the same name in 2005. Here’s how they describe Affluenza. It’s the pursuit of happiness; trying to find life and joy through affluence or the abundance of wealth. It is a strong desire for more and more, bigger and better.
In these days of economic upheaval and unprecedented debt, you might want to examine yourself to see if this disease has affected you. It often goes undetected and ignored. It may be costly if not treated early. It’s introduced into our personal lives by an addictive virus called consumerism. Those infected by the virus will often deny its presence or yield to this twisted truth: You can’t be happy until you have MORE!
The cure for Affluenza is found in Luke 6:38. But be aware, it doesn’t seem like rational thinking. Here’s what it declares: “Give away your life; you'll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity. " WOW! When you spend money on yourself, you get something in return but when you give to God’s work or to those in need, you take center stage before the Lord. He loves a cheerful giver. God chooses to bless those who give. He makes sure those who are determined to be distribution centers rather than storage houses are satisfied with good things. He provides abundantly and no kid of His goes away hungry. These are difficult economic times, but Jesus is our provider. Let’s remember His words: “it is better to give than to receive.” You don’t need more and more to be happy. You need to follow Jesus! He will make all things work out. Why not visit a church this weekend and let one of the many Pastors introduce you to Him.