Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Affluenza





affluenza, n. 1. The bloated, sluggish and unfulfilled feeling that results from efforts to keep up with the Joneses. 2. An epidemic of stress, overwork, waste and indebtedness caused by the pursuit of the American Dream. 3. An unsustainable addiction to economic growth. (PBS)

This catchy name for an old malady connects selfishness with a prevalent virus caused illness, flu. It is an appropriate name, as both are very contagious. Eve had the malady, as she wanted to be in charge, and have whatever she wanted, without regard to the words of her Creator. The plague is still with us, and most evident in the nations that have been blessed materially.

Three fourths of the world’s population struggles to have food and clothing, while others are being destroyed by too much food, and too many things. Mankind has a history of destroying himself with abundance and greed. Truly there is no satisfaction in getting things. The more one has, the more one seems to need, in order to continue the quest to find fulfillment in possessions and self satisfaction of worldly desires..

The world’s greatest teacher addressed the quest for possessions while speaking from a mountain in Galilee, 
Matt 6:19-21--Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. NASU

Matt 6:24-33--No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?

And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? ---- Do not worry then, saying, "What will we eat?' or "What will we drink?' or "What will we wear for clothing?' For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. NASU


Jesus said that putting God first is the way to escape from the disease affluenza. It sounds easy, to put God first, but doing so goes against our inherent desire to be in control of things. Man wants to be his own god, and finds it difficult to fall at the feet of an invisible Creator. But the evidence of history reveals the truth of the words spoken by Jesus. God became a man in Jesus, and Jesus is approachable. His life defines what it means to give to others. We find contentment in being like Jesus.

The Apostle Paul instructed Timothy, 1 Tim 6:6-11--But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.

But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. NASU


So the cure for affluenza is loving and trusting God in Jesus Christ. As Paul wrote, Phil 4:11-13--Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. 

Also involved in the cure of affluenza is sharing what we have with others. Instead of seeking more for ourselves and never being satisfied, we should seek to share with others, and find true blessings.

While visiting Nepal in Dec 2013, I stayed in the home of a family who are believers in Jesus. A brother’s home was nearby on the top of the same hill. He is also a believer. These two families carry their water almost one kilometer from a spring that is seventy meters elevation lower than the homes. The women carry the water on their backs, in a metal vessel in a basket with a support strap across their foreheads.

They can have water in a tank at their house by the expenditure of about $2500 for submersible pump, two polyethylene water tanks, 600 meters of polyethylene pipe, and 600 meters of #10 UF electric cable. They will do the installation themselves. When I think of our convenience to have running water and water heaters in our homes, I feel compelled to help these people have a water system, because I know them. They are part of my spiritual family.



Randolph Gonce's photo.
Water system installed in 2014

More critical than the need for fresh water is the supply of the water of life. The message about Jesus, savior of all who trust in Him, can save those who have no hope. The most precious gift we can give is to tell someone about Jesus.


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