I don’t want fame and fortune

Category : faith

There was a time in my life that I wanted fame and fortune.  I saw those as things to aspire to.  They were the American Dream.  I wanted to travel the world in luxury, not worry about paying bills (because I was loaded) and have the freedom to do anything I wanted.

But now that I’m a Christian, I think those are things I don’t really want.  Fame and fortune do not bring happiness.  And at least from reading the news, it seems they bring more misery than anything else.

Take a look at Brett Favre.  He was idolized as having it “all.”  He was famous, successful.  He was a record setter.  He was a millionaire.  He lived the high life.  He was idolized in video games and history books.

My how things change.

I don’t know Favre personally (duh!).  For all I know he could be a great guy.  For all I know he could be a Christian and just simply lost his way.  So I offer no judgment.  All too easily the same things (or something similar) could befall any of us.

What I do offer is a growing realization that money, stuff, fame, or even friends and family, will offer us freedom and happiness.

The only thing that truly offers freedom and happiness is God.  And while that’s still a radical, shocking, revolutionary claim, it’s 100% true.

But don’t take my word for it.  Just look around at all the so-called “successful” people and you can’t help but notice the deep pain and suffering they experience – just like the rest of us.

Fame and fortune aren’t what they are cracked up to be.

following a dead god

Category : God, bible, faith, living a life of faith, sin

……….

Baal worship was a major problem in Israel.  It actually followed them for hundreds of years.  It was so indoctrinated into the culture that many Jews thought worshiping Baal was the same as worshiping God.  They didn’t even notice the difference!

How could that be?  It’s not as if the Bible is unclear on idolatry.  It’s not as if God didn’t send prophet after prophet delivering the same message, and I quote, “Hey!  Knock it off!”

But Israel was an agrarian society.  Farming was a major part of their life.  Is it any wonder that they kept getting caught up in worshiping a god that supposedly brought the rain?

We live in a country that is a financial society.  Is it any wonder that we get caught up in things like the prosperity gospel?  Is it any wonder that our priests fall into temptation of the “all mighty dollar?”

The situation may change, but apparently the human heart does not.

consumerism

Category : barbarian, choice, different, faith, fear, hope

   

Getting stuff and having things isn’t bad. 

Being consumed with getting stuff and having things is. 

Right now people are tapped out.  They are spent financially, emotionally, and for many, relationally.  How can it be otherwise?  We are constantly told that we need more to fill our lives.  That no matter what we have it isn’t enough, or it’s not the right size.  So we go out and try to lose more weight, or buy more gadgets, or have more dating relationships.  But it’s never enough.  We need more. 

Frankly that’s a tough place to be because the more we embrace a consumerist mindset, the more we believe we have a right to wealth, prosperity, and happiness.  And now that we might not be able to get our next fix, we’re terrified. 

As much as I wish it were true, God never promised that just because we beleive in him, everything will be fine.  In fact, just the opposite may be true.  It seems that the closer you get to God, the more likely “bad” things are going to happen.  Of course that’s only if you define “bad” as not getting gadgets, toys, and pay raises.  Losing our toys may be annoying, losing our jobs may be difficult, losing our lives may be unfortunate.  But losing our souls?  Devastating.   

The thing is, God can still use each of us.  God still wants to be in a relationship with us.  No matter how far we’ve fallen into debt.  No matter how bad the country’s (or world’s) economy looks, there’s always something we can be doing for God.  There is always a way to advance the Kingdom.

And where the Kingdom advances, there is hope. 

wealth and power

Category : God, Judges

   

Gideon made the gold into an ephod, which he placed in Ophrah, his town. All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family” (Judges 8: 27)

I’ve been thinking a lot about wealth and power, and I think I’m finally coming to the point in my life where I can honestly say I don’t want any.  There was a time where I would have loved to have been famous, or at least well known.  The thought of being influential and remembered in history was exciting.  (I still smile when I think about school kids 200 years from now trying to remember trivial facts about my life.)  It would also be nice to not have to worry about money.

But as I sit here thinking about those things, I just don’t want the trouble that comes with wealth and power.  I can barely manage my own problems, I don’t need any more.  And wealth and power seem to bring a lot of problems.  Consider that the Steelers are going through ownership struggles.  The Steelers founder gave a share of ownership to each of his sons, and that’s been passed down the line.  Now one brother (Dan Rooney) is trying to buy out the other brothers.  For a variety of reasons neither side is happy with the other.  And a sale doesn’t look promising, which means no Rooney will own the team their father/grandfather founded.  They make sacrifice the family legacy, break the hearts of millions of fans, all for a few million dollars.  Is money worth that kind of legacy?

Or if you’re a music fan just look at the divorce hearings of Phil Collins or Paul McCartney.  I’m not in a position to say how much money the ex wives deserved or didn’t deserve.  But there’s no question the divorces would have been less acrimonious and less public if there wasn’t so much money at stake.  Money makes you do funny things.

We are all vulnerable to it’s influence.  Even people God personally selects to do amazing things, like Gideon.  After living a life that God used to save thousands of lives, Gideon gives it all away for wealth and power.  The wealth he accumulates becomes “a snare to Gideon and his family”

Jesus said “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”  I don’t think that’s because money is evil.  I think it’s because money changes who we are.  And I’m not sure I want to take that risk.