Summary: Our Society is summed up in the words of a U2 song - "I still haven’t found what I’m looking for." This sermon explores why we have such a drive for more...
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m looking For
While your turning to our passage, I want you to listen to a few words from a song by U2.
I hope you caught that. Bono the lead singer of U2 is singing the words, “I have climbed the highest mountains. I have run through the fields. I run, I have crawled, I have scaled city walls. But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.”
I think that song more than almost any other, describes our culture today. How many people are searching, running, scaling, looking for something but not finding it. I still haven’t found what I’m looking for. And unfortunately many people think they’re going to find it in the accumulation of things.
This morning we’re talking about what the Bible has to say about the accumulation of things. And at it’s root what we’re really wanting to know is how can we discover contentment in our lives.
Now unfortunately we are not trained by our culture to be very content? Everything around us teaches us to believe in an accumulation of things.
A typical market in the United States in 1976 stocked 9,000 items; today that same market carries 30,000 different items. And why is that? Because we have an obsessive compulsion to possess more and more things, thinking they will bring satisfaction in our lives.
The old testament sums it up in the word Covet. An unquenchable desire for more. Galatians 5:20 calls it “selfish ambition.” The Greek word literally meant “to grasp for more and more.”
And that’s what were talking about this morning. That covetous drive for more and more that brings about a lack of contentment. And God takes it very seriously.
Now why is that? Why is God concerned with our drive to accumulate more and more?
One obvious reason is because it damages our priorities. When we want something more than we want anything else, including God that is a problem. Our priorities are out of whack and when our priorities get rearranged we fall into many traps. We run after the wrong things and stop pursuing God. Stuff becomes the most important things in our lives. Our priorities get rearranged.
God is also concerned because that drive for more damages our relationships.
James 4:1 says, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Do they not come from your own desires that battle within you? You want something, but don’t get it, so you kill and you covet. You can’t have what you want so you quarrel and fight.”
And he’s right. Homicide is now the second leading cause of death in the workplace. How many murders are committed by employees exacting revenge after being passed over for a promotion?
In 1 Kings 21 we read of a king named Ahab who wanted a piece of land adjoining his property. Here he had this huge palace but he wanted this little garden plot that belonged to his neighbor Naboth. Ahab offered to buy the land but Naboth refused and 1 Kings 21:4 says that Ahab became sullen and angry.
His wife Jezebel saw him like this and arranged for Naboth to be put to death. Once Naboth was dead, Ahab took the land he wanted.
And that’s an extreme, but the drive for more and more stuff can damage our relationships. It’s the preoccupation with other people’s things that is at the root of much of the crime in our society.
Remember the story of a Carjacking that was foiled in a Northern Virginia Shopping Mall. It seems as if an elderly grandmother had been given a gun by her son in which to protect herself. On day after she did her shopping she returned to the car where she found four white males seated inside. She dropped her shopping bags and drew her handgun, proceeding to scream at them at the top of her voice that she has a gun and knows how to use it: so get out of the car.
The four men hopped out and ran like mad, whereupon the lady proceeded to load her shopping bags into the back of the car and get into the drivers seat.
And there she discovered a small problem, her key wouldn’t fit the ignition. Upon inspection she realized that her car was identical and parked four or five spaces farther down. She loaded her bags into her car and drove to the police station.
The sergeant to whom she told the story nearly doubled over in laughter and then pointed to the other end of the counter, where four pale white males were reporting a carjacking by a mad elderly white woman.
But it is a preoccupation with things, a coveting of what others have that drives so many in crime or just in life. And so it damages our priorities and our relationships.