Summary: A look at the life of Daniel; overcoming the consumer mentality.
Series: When Cultures Collide
Topic: Luxury, Longevity, & Latitude
July 7, 2002
"A feast is made for laughter,
And wine makes merry;
But money answers everything."
Ecclesiastes 10:19, NKJV
Oh the glory and splendor of wealth...
We are driven to awe and wonder as we look upon the lifestyles of the rich and famous.
We admire the life of luxury and ease. It drives our economy. We spend more out of dissatisfaction than need. Dissatisfaction drives our wants.
Our car is old–doesn’t work as good–get a new one (bigger, better)
Our clothes are out of style, worn, faded–get new clothes
The new T.V.’s have more features, better picture and sound–get a new one
Computer’s slow–get a new one
We buy beauty products-creams, lotions, pills, herbs, because we’re dissatisfied with our appearance.
Two of the most called for plastic surgeries, besides lipposuction, are boob jobs for women and pectoral jobs for men.
Luxury, longevity, and latitude are the three essentials to the American way of life.
We want luxury. We want the best life has to offer. We strive for longevity. We don’t want a long life where we grow old and feeble. We want a long, long youth– It’s almost maddening all the commercials inundating us on how we can look and feel younger. And we seek to broaden our latitude. Extending the reaches of our influence through pagers, e-mail, and cell phones.
Yet for all the wonder and enjoyment wealth has to offer...And wealth does offer great enjoyment. Wealth is not evil–Paul does not say, "money is the root of all evil." but rather, "the love of money." (1 Timothy 6:10)
"No one would have remembered the good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions. He had money as well." -Margaret Thatcher
Even Jesus implies this when He says, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into heaven." Because, he speaks this in the context of a rich man who refused to give up his wealth to be a disciple.
Having it means you’ve been blessed; loving it means you’ve been cursed.
And herein lies the dark side of wealth.
In their book, The Day America Told the Truth, James Patterson and Peter Kim reveal some shocking statistics about how far people in this country are willing to go for ten million.
Would abandon their entire family (25%)
Would abandon their church (25%)
Would become prostitutes for a week or more (23%)
Would give up their American citizenship (16%)
Would leave their spouses (16%)
Would withhold testimony and let a murderer go free (10%)
Would kill a stranger (7%)
Would put their children up for adoption (3%)
This morning we look at the life of a king who had acquired it all (living high on the hog as the greatest of men). He possessed all his heart dreamed of. But there was only one problem–His power and wealth got to his head. He got a big head.
I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at ease in my house and prospering in my palace. . .At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, and the king said, "Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?" While the words were still in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, "O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field; and you shall be made to eat grass like an ox; and seven times shall pass over you, until you have learned that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will." Immediately the word was fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from among men, and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers, and his nails were like birds’ claws. Daniel 4:4, 29-33, RSV
Wealth can be an entrapping force but this morning I would like to share with you five (easy) steps to escape the consumer confidence syndrome/ the demise of King Nebuchadnezzar.
Five Steps To Escape The Consumer Confidence Syndrome
1. Be Mindful
"I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at ease in my house and prospering in my palace."(vs 4)
"at ease" "prospering" (RSV)
"living comfortably" (TEV)
Satiated with wealth
and the king said, "Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?" Daniel 4:30 (RSV)