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Faithful Words

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Faithful Words

By The Staff

 

FAITHFUL WORDS Dr. Kenneth L. Faught   Have you heard the one about materialism?   “But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’” (Luke 12:20; See Luke 12:13-21) Surely we can all agree, even those of us who may not consider ourselves “rich” or “well-to-do” that we live in an affluent society? Are we also able to admit to one another that materialism is a real problem – even for Christians? Jesus told a parable which helps us to define the problem of materialism. He described a man so rich that he didn’t know what to do! He had so much that he struggled to manage his property and possessions. His life was strangled by all his “stuff!” He finally decided that his only solution was to tear down his warehouses and build bigger warehouses. He was a materialist. This man reminds us that “too many things” can cause us to forget God, forget about others, and even to miss our own lives. Wendell Berry, the poet, warns, “Don’t own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire!” This parable also warns us of the deception and danger of materialism. It is easy to become deceived by advertisers, entertainers, neighbors, and others who encourage us to embrace the philosophy of the day. The man in Luke 12 bought into his culture: “Eat, drink, and be merry,” but he forgot the warning “for tomorrow we die.” He succumbed to “the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life.” The “abundant life” can be strangled by the “abundance of stuff.” Peace doesn’t come with our next purchase. Security isn’t found in a shopping spree. New things soon become old things. Deception can make us do foolish things. Even with a very “successful” lifestyle, the man Jesus described was bored – “What shall I do?” He was worried – “Where will I store everything?” He never thought about sharing with others. He forgot who owned him! He failed to meet God’s standard to live a faithful life and to be a faithful steward of his blessings. Jesus told a story that points the way to defeating materialism. Consider the note of warning in this parable: “Take heed.” That is, “Look at yourself! Hey, you! Get a grip! Stop being a materialist!” John Wesley actually wrote that he feared “leaving something” when he died. We might as well “leave everything and follow Jesus” . . . because one day we’re going to leave everything anyway!   Dr. Faught is Pastor of The LaFollette United Methodist Church.