Bling Bling Culture, Part 2

District Fellowship News

September, October 2008

Last time we dealt with the first assumption in a bling bling culture: we deserve to have things better than our parents did. Although we would like to believe this is true, we saw that there is no validation of this belief in God’s word. Now let’s look at another assumption that is commonly held in our society.

ASSUMPTION #2: I earned it, so I can do what I want with it…

Mine, mine, mine, isn’t that what the seagulls said in ‘Finding Nemo’. Have you found yourself doing that with your possessions, your checkbook, your savings. This is all mine, I worked for it, or was given it, or found it and so now I can do whatever I want with MY money, MY things. The image that keeps coming to mind is the one of Donald Duck’s Uncle Scrooge with his giant money storehouse and a diving board so he could jump into it at any time and “roll in the dough”. Unfortunately those who champion this attitude will find no support of it from God. God’s principles on possessions and wealth really relate to stewardship and responsibility more than to possession, comfort, luxury, or debauchery.

When we look at wealth from God’s perspective, we come to see it as a tool more than a status symbol. When you realize your separation from God because of sin, accept His offer of forgiveness and reconciliation, and become a God follower, your status changes. You are now adopted into God’s family as a son or daughter, an heir to His kingdom. That is quite a step up. When the Bible gives us an idea of God’s wealth, His power. His position; it uses terms that are extravagant meant to convey the best. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, every knee will bow, in the future the New Jerusalem has streets paved with gold, and gates made from a single pearl. There are many more references to God’s glory and wealth and power, but think about this in human terms. Today, we buy gold as a safe haven in unsure times, but God says in my kingdom you can use your gold for the streets. We think that getting a few people to notice us is an accomplishment but He says in my kingdom everyone will bow before me. We think a few sticks or rocks on a piece of land with maybe some possessions shows others our success but God says all this is mine and you are my children, my heirs. If we can realize that God has all the status we’ll ever need and as his children we become part of that, then our current situation whether good or bad loses it’s focus on striving and greed and instead becomes focused on servanthood and stewardship. Money and possessions become a tool to use to further the Kingdom of God. Money is not bad, it is the love of money, the desire to hoard, to lord over, seeking money for itself or power that is spoken against. This is the concept laid out by Paul to Timothy.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1Tim 6:6-10, NIV)

God provides for us and expects each of us to be accountable to Him in what we do. It is not about bettering our position, but how we can best help others and further God’s plan. Three Biblical examples come to mind that we will not be able to fully explore, but will mention. Jesus in the sermon of the mount talking about God’s provision, the parable of the man who had so much he tore down his barns and built larger ones to hold his bounty only to come to his accounting that very night, and the Israelites who upon leaving Egypt were given all kinds of gold and valuables to take with them by the Egyptians.

In the first example, we are instructed not to worry about things but instead seek his kingdom and righteousness. A comparison is made between the pagans who run after these things and those who seek first God’s kingdom understanding that the Father knows what you need and will give to you. Maybe the ‘I earned it and it’s mine’ might need to be reworked a little into ‘God provided so it’s mine to use according to His plan’. This example deals with seeking provisions for their own sakes. Do we need to work? Yes. Do we have a part to play in taking care of our families? Of course. But the principle that is being espoused is that provision comes from God so the acquiring should never become the driving force, the motivation. The first part of our assumption (I earned it) needs to be reworked. God is the provider.

Next time: A barn, and a principle