Friday: Further Thought – I See, I Want, I Take

Further Thought: The ultimate human goal is to be happy and satisfied. But being self-fulfilled through materialism will not achieve this goal. Deep down people know this is true, and yet they continue in their obsession with possessions: I see, I want, I take.What could be simpler than that? Seventh-day Adventists, just like everyone else, are faced with the temptation to subscribe to the values of materialism. Yet the continual acquisition of goods does not produce happiness, satisfaction, or contentment.

Spectacles on Bible

Image © Stan Myers from GoodSalt.com

Instead it produces problems, as seen when the rich young ruler turned away from Jesus unhappy, despondent, and downhearted because he did not hear or get what he wanted. “Materialistic values are associated with a pervasive undermining of people’s well-being, from low life satisfaction and happiness, to depression and anxiety, to physical problems such as headaches, and to personality disorders, narcissism, and antisocial behavior.” – Tim Kasser, The High Price of Materialism (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2002), p. 22.

Materialistic Christians, in other words, proudly drink from the well of wealth but are spiritually dehydrated. But we will never thirst from drinking the water Christ gives (John 4:14).

Discussion Questions:

  1. Dwell more on the idea of the prosperity gospel. What texts might those who believe in this idea use to try to promote it? At the same time, what examples can you find from the Bible of faithful people whose lives are living refutations of this false teaching?
  2. After his first child was a few years old, a man said: “I have learned two important biblical truths from this child. First, that we are born sinners. Second, that we are born greedy.” Who can relate stories about how even children reveal just how naturally greedy we as humans beings are What does this tell us about the need of divine grace?
  3. “If we’re looking for the source of our troubles,” someone wrote, “we shouldn’t test people for drugs – we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed, and love of power.” What is it about greed that is so damaging, not just to the greedy person himself or herself but to those around him or her? What examples do you know of in which greed has caused terrible damage to all involved?
Amen!(22)

1 comment(s) for this post:

  1. Tanya T:

    11 Jan 2018
    One thing I realised is that underlying greed and coveteousness is one's sense of self. When we looked at the incident in the garden of Eden - Satan used some important tactics that he knew would cause her fall. Step 1- the serpent presented himself as unknowing; ignorant. Immediately, this appealed to Eve's sense of intelligence- as she being the more superior knowledgeable one. It caused an automatic self-elevation in her - pride. And she immediately corrects the serpent. That's all the serpent needed - was for her to engage. When she corrects him and God's instruction, which by the way the devious being already knew, he knew he had her.
    Step 3 was then challenging her sense of self. Bursting her bubble so to speak. Gen 3 vs 4 says the serpent then corrected her. Putting this into perspective - what's just happened is he presented himself as "stupid" thus making her feel more superior and "smarter" for correcting him. And straight after that, he corrects her. So, if an if an idiot serpent knows that it doesn't cause you to die, then what does that make her? She must be more stupid than the serpent. This is the challenge to her sense of self. God has already told them that they have dominion over the animals - yet, here is one making her doubt her own knowledge, herself and her Creator. She needs to do something to bring that sense of superiority back into check. And it has to be what the serpent has that has caused him to know something she doesn't. She looks at the tree and it is appealing. Verse 7 says it looked like it was "desirable to make one wise". That's the area where she fell - her sense of being wiser (superiority, pridefulness).
    To bring her back to equilibrium, to that elevated sense superiority, she fell for the bait.
    Similarly, in our world today, we are driven by selfishness, coveteousness, greed but all that is driven by the lie that you are lesser without. You work towards bringing your sense of equilibrium back up to superiority and hence, acquire more -education, riches, wealth, put others down. All driven by the lie that you are lesser/ less superior. But here is the truth: with or without education, money, fancy clothes, shoes, spouse, children - you are more than conquerors, you are loved, you are "Mine" says God, you are created for a purpose, you are fearfully and wonderfully made, you are made for a future for hope and success, and most importantly, you are unconditionally loved. We just need to believe and trust that. Not the lie we are being led to.

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