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Redeemer Church

Redeemer Church
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Monday, February 16, 2009

Who dies with toys anyway?

Have you noticed how popular our cars have become as a medium for our beliefs and arguments? For Christians, you can buy a fish. For evolutionists, a fish with legs. For Christians fighting back, a TRUTH fish eating the fish with legs. And, in return, a Darwin fish with legs eating the Jesus fish. There's pro-gun and anti-gun. There's pro-choice and pro-life. If you've got anything you feel strongly about, it can probably be boiled down to one terse sentence and stuck on your car.

One of the "bumper debates" I've seen taking place on our highways revolves around materialism. One bumper sticker reads "He who dies with the most toys . . . wins." And in reply, "He who dies with the most toys . . . still dies."

I remember growing up learning about the pharaohs of Egypt and their practice of being entombed with their chariots, jewelry, furniture, and everyday necessities. I was also horrified to learn that a pharaoh's servants, concubines, and even pets would often be killed and buried along with him. As I recall this now, I can think of no better picture of the dies-with-toys-wins mentality. And yet, I think I live in a nation of people who would amass, hoard, and kill to be buried with such things if only they had the clout, power, and god-status of a pharaoh. The only thing sadder than dying with your stuff is dying (and killing) for your stuff while you're still alive.

Which brings us to the latest book I am reading, Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World. And as contributor Dave Harvey asserts, "Austerity and indulgence won't cure the bankruptcy of soul and emptiness of life that commonly result when our covetous desires are allowed free reign . . . Jesus was quite serious in saying, 'How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!' (Luke 18:24). But this doesn't mean God is biased against the rich; it means the rich are often biased against God. Their affluence feels like it meets needs, but it really diverts attention from the Savior to their stuff."

Unfortunately, most Americans (even the Christian ones) have fallen in to the trap of materialism. We neglect those in need, those in third world countries and those next door, for the sake of a nicer car, newer house, or an impressive DVD collection (yes, that one's me). In this way, we are dying and killing for stuff. We choke our hearts with the fat of possessions, rather than the lean love of Christ. Of course, I am not advocating selling every possession and living on the street. But when we love what we amass more than Christ, we are becoming like the pharaohs of Egypt. Who will suffer and die just so you can have more things in your tomb?

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