Summary: Why living the "Whoever dies with the most toys" philosophy of life will not satisfy.
Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?
(Christian Survivors; Living Godly in a Godless World)
James 1.9-11 & 5.1-6 January 14, 2001
When down-and-outers get a break, cheer!
And when the arrogant rich are brought down to size, cheer!
Prosperity is as short-lived as a wildflower, so don¡¦t ever count on it.
You know that as soon as the sun rises,
pouring down its scorching heat, the flower withers.
Its petals wilt and, before you know it, that beautiful face is a barren stem.
Well, that¡¦s a picture of the ¡§prosperous life.¡¨
At the very moment everyone is looking on in admiration,
it fades away to nothing.
The Message: New Testament
The closing statement of Entertainment¡¦s Online website, regarding Survivor II warns:
And thus begins another season. Take cover.
Our contemporary society is characterized by an awful reality that there is a growing gap. The rich get richer, and the poor are getting poorer, and the gap (the middle class workers) are disappearing! A gap between the rich and poor is eternal.
There is an even more disturbing phenomenon ¡V the mentality that¡K You should JUMP THE GAP (from poor to rich) at ANY cost! Survivor mentality ¡V do whatever it takes ¡V win the big bucks ¡V is all about jumping the gap.
It is even so in the church. A modern day TV personality, Creflo Dollar is a prosperity preacher. He maintains that it is every believer¡¦s right and destiny to be rich (his name alone conveys quite a picture-message!)
Dollar ¡Kgives some tips to help people determine if they have the spirit of prosperity. First of all, ¡§you don¡¦t settle for anything less than the best.¡¨ You also will support those who support prosperity¡¨ (Dollar, www.worldchangers.org/wealth_t5.htm).
(¡¥Nother words ¡V keep those cards, letters and donations coming!)
While the Bible never condemns wealth or being prosperous, it presents quite a different perspective from that of Mr. Dollar. Scripture condemns the heart preoccupied with wealth:
For the love of money is the root of all evil;
1 Ti 6.10a KJV
The reality is that wealth may be a test of faith, not a proof of faith. In chapter 5, James returns to the theme of materialism tests. When he refers to rich men, he is identifying those whose hearts stop and start with the rise and fall of the stock market¡Kthose among us who are preoccupied with wealth.
Incidentally ¡V you can fall into that category no matter the balance in your account. James warns those self-serving rich, and the envious poor ¡V and everyone in-between. We can all have dollar-signs blinding our Christian walk.
James gives us some spiritual stabilizers against the waves of economic tides.
The Results of Materialism in a Believer¡¦s Life
(What you can expect if you opt for being like Madonna, the material girl)
Result #1. THE CRASH THAT COMES FROM DEPENDING ON THINGS TO MAKE YOUR LIFE MEANINGFUL
However else you care to characterize greed, it is just that. James compares the prosperity of having things to the life span of wildflowers. They are beautiful, but their reign is short-lived.