When Materialism Rules the Home

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Is Materialism the god of Your Home?

In my heart and my life, I've noticed a devastating idol that so often deceives me into false worship. It is a poison that I've been swimming in for so long I don't even realize I'm drinking it. Our western consumeristic culture has so indoctrinated me, that the chains are hard to break free from. What is this idol? It is the idol of materialism.

The love of stuff so often rules the way we think about our life. Although we might not realize it, many of us make our decisions in order to please the idol of materialism. I am convinced, that many Christians, like myself, have allowed materialism to greatly distort a Biblical understanding of home and family, especially our understanding of children.

A Biblical Purpose of Family

What is the primary purpose of the family? I am convinced it is this - The Great Commission. The mission each and every Christian is assigned, must be put into practice in the home. The primary existence for the Christian home is to spread the matchless name of Jesus to the ends of the earth. This primarily takes place in Gospel-Driven parenting. This is parenting with a purpose. Parenting to make disciples. Parenting to spread the Gospel through the next generation.

A Culture that Hates Children

We live in a culture that hates children. Children are economic liabilities. They cost a lot of money (I'm learning that one quick, and my son isn't even born yet!). They hinder our individualistic "me"-centered life style. Our culture views them as a drain on society, which is why families with large children always get the stink eye in the super market. Our culture hates children.

If we need any more convincing that our culture hates children, we just need to look at the rampant abortion rates in our society. Every day thousands of young babies are sacrifice to the god of self and materialism. Babies who are thrown to the grave simply because they interfere with our dreams, goals, and ambitions.

Materialism Rules the Christian Home

I've found that our cultures view of children have greatly distorted our understanding of the purpose of family. For many of us, the purpose of our homes isn't the Great Commission, but materialism. This is reflected in the rationale behind the decisions we make as parents.  Here are a few examples:

  • We drill our children like slave masters when it comes to sports and hobbies hoping they will be good enough to get a scholarship, and thus get a good job.
  • We keep both parents working, not because it is financially necessary, but because we want to maintain our comfortable lifestyle and afford that new Lexus or Disney Vacation.
  • We have only 2.3 kids so that the economic burden of our children doesn't start affecting our lifestyle.  Big families then, are unthinkable and irresponsible.  It is "bad stewardship" to have a big family.
  • We outsource the raising of our children to "Professionals" -daycare, public school teachers, coaches, youth pastors etc - and pay others to do for us what we've been given by God to do ourselves.
  • We place our kids in Homeschool or Private School, hoping they will exceed better academically so they will be more economically prosperous in the future.

Listen, do not misunderstand me.  My point isn't saying any of those parenting decisions are necessarily wrong.  However, what is wrong is the motivation or the reasoning behind those decisions. You see, it is the god of materialism and convenience that so often rules the roost of our home. It isn't the Scriptures. It isn't the Great Commission. It is materialism.

A Personal Struggle

Over the past several months this is something my wife and I have been fighting against. Materialism still has a strong grip around our throats, but we are trying to put our sin to death and make decisions for our future child that are grounded in the Gospel and the Great Commission.

In the next blog post I will share our journey in more detail and explain why Kaitlyn is "retiring" at the age of 25 to be a full-time wife and mother.

Does Materialism rule the roost in your home?  What is the biblical purpose of family and parenting? How should Christians think about these things? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

 

 

Ungodly Prosperity in Amos

 

Amos is a very depressing book. It is pretty much 9 chapters of judgement, with a little bit of hope in the last 5 verses. The book starts out with judgements against Foreign nations, but moves to Amos' mission field: Israel, the northern kingdom. He has some very stern words for these people. He rebukes them for their sin, particularly their excessive living and taking advantage of the poor. Over and over again God announces his judgement over the sins of Israel.

In fact, Amos' message was so aggressive, Amaziah the priest of Bethel tells Amos to go away and bother Judah (7:12). Amos is not very popular. His message is filled with harsh judgement from God, and Israel did not want to hear it. They were prosperous. They were comfortable. Why then do they need God? Why would they want to listen to Amos?

The book of Amos serves as a strong warning to the rampant American materialism in our culture. Read the book and you will observe that the northern kingdom sounds alot like the USA:

"Woe to those who lie on beds of ivory and strech themselves out on their couches, and eat lambs from the flock and calves from the midst of the stall, who sing idle songs to the soundof the harp..." Amos 6:4ff

This excessive living and comfort is disturbing to God. I don't think that prospeterity and comfort are bad things, but Israel seems to have made them into ultimate things. America has done the same. We roam around seeking possessions, comfort, and ease. We have prosperity, but we don't use it to serve the poor or advance the Gospel. We use it to buy rib-eye steaks or a bigger TV. This American greed has become so thick in our vains, that we don't even realize it effects our every thought. It informs our every discision.

A Christian is not to live for comfort and ease, but to sacrifice all things for the sake of Jesus. We are called to lay all things down, pick up our cross, and follow Jesus. The Spirit must purge every ounce of materialism that runs through our veins, and we must submit our lives to the Lordship of Christ. We are the richest nation in the world, and to whom much is given, much is expected. Therefore, let our treasure not be found in this world, but in the Lord Jesus.