“We have taller buildings but shorter tempers; wider freeways but narrower viewpoints; we spend more but have less; we buy more but enjoy it less; we have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, yet less time; we have more degrees but less sense; more knowledge but less judgment; more experts, yet more problems; we have more gadgets but less satisfaction; more medicine, yet less wellness; we take more vitamins but see fewer results. We drink too much; smoke too much; spend too recklessly; laugh too little; drive too fast, get too angry quickly; stay up too late; get up too tired; read too seldom; watch TV too much and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values; we fly in faster planes to arrive there quicker, to do less and return sooner; we sign more contracts only to realize fewer profits; we talk too much; love too seldom, and lie too often. We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life; we’ve added years to life, not life to years.” Dr. Bob Moorehead Words Aptly Spoken also know as Paradox of our Time
Everyone reading Dr. Morrehead’s words knows in their heart that he is right. All our searching for meaning and fulfillment of life leads us to a busier and more stressful life but not necessarily a joyous and contented life. Our true identity is not found in things or accomplishments regardless of how successful and important they may seem.
The reason for that is the reality that we are often conflicted and those conflicts lead to having to choose which of the two things we want the most. And when both are wanted equally we find an emptiness that Moorehead has summarized quite nicely, “we’ve added years to life, not life to years.”
Former Presidential candidate Al Gore remarked, “The accumulation of material goods is at an all-time high, but so is the number of people who feel an emptiness in their lives,” Vanishing Grace Philip Yancey p. 154
So how has it worked out for us as a nation for pushing God aside and trying to build a sectarian utopia upon secularism and personal ethics without any absolutes or social ethic? A Gallup poll revealed that 73 percent of Americans believed that the morals of the nation are becoming worse while only 14 percent believe they are improving. America with only 5 percent of the world’s population contains 25 percent of all prisoners. The leading causes of death are to a great extent self-inflicted because of alcohol, tobacco, sexually transmitted diseases, obesity, violence and suicide.
But it’s more than just a nation that is trying to live free of constrains, ethics and morality associated with Christianity. Individuals believe that they should be free to choose their own paths, directions, without constraints and demands imposed upon them by any outside source. Movies, advertisements, books and the media applaud rugged individualism that stands up against the norms of society for their individual rights and beliefs. Does Rambo really have a justified right to blow up buildings, trash police cars and cause havoc simply because he’s having a bad day?
The truth of the matter is that we receive our identity not from things, what we do or our status, but from being in relationship to God. He has placed a worth upon us that is of such immense value that to ransom us back from the power of Satan, sin and death costs God His very being. Think about that. God values you to such a degree that He gave His Son Jesus to die for your sins that you, by simply believing (trusting) in Him, may be given eternal life.
People turn their backs on Jesus because they believe He might get in the way of their success and dreams, but Jesus never turns His back on us. When a marriage breaks down, the career doesn’t pan out, illness comes along or the death of a loved one takes place, the gods of our lives seem shallow and inconsequential.
God loves us without condition. He never says “be good enough and I will accept you”, but instead says “I accept you as you are and in my time and as you are able I will guide and encourage you to a fuller and happier life”. When troubles come, and they come to us all, God is there with us to hold us, encourage us and strengthen us. We do not have to face turmoil and pain alone.
As the family of God we Christians have a responsibility towards our community and that is to love people without thought of reward or profit. Too many people see us as uptight, rigid, moralists who never have a positive word to say about anything. They sense we are against everything in life that doesn’t fit into our narrow view of what life should be like and can hardly wait to criticize and belittle their views and understandings of life.
I know that is what I thought before I became a Christian. But in the many years that I have followed Christ I have met many amazing self-sacrificing people who care deeply for their communities and the larger world. They operate food banks, shelters, work as missionaries, visit prisoners, serve in soup kitchens, distribute clothing to street people, and dozens of other wonderful and important social ministries that bring joy, relief and comfort to the hurting.
The media seldom reports on these self-sacrificing people but instead focus on some sex-addicted pastor who has an affair with his secretary. The result is the negative view of Christians is reinforced and the public feels relief that even though they don’t believe in God they aren’t hypocrites.
Let me remind us that there are many people in life who live better, more ethical lives than many Christians. But Jesus didn’t come to die for morally superior people, He came to redeem sinners. It is when we realize that all our gods of power, sexual attractiveness, wealth, fame and popularity are powerless to save us that we turn to see the grace of God waiting for us to welcome us home again.
As a Christian never beat yourself up because of your failures and how often you fall back into sin, but rejoice that you are of such value that Jesus died for you to save “a wretch like me.” The day before you accept Jesus you are a sinner and the day after you accept Jesus you are a sinner. The difference is now you have been covered by the grace of a loving Savior. All the money in the world can’t buy that.
* Please remember to pray for the Christians who are suffering persecution for their faith in many countries around the world. There is a great evil settling on this earth and we must be vigilant in our prayers and stay close to Christ. Our hope is in Christ and he is faithful to his people. Please take the time to read about what is taking place in the world around us at http://thebeggardanced.com/nine-oclock-club/ there is much more on the internet…