There is a Bible text in Judges 19:30 that says "Consider of it, take advice, speak your minds." Today if I were to speak my mind to give advice for you to consider because I care for you, this would be the nature of my suggestion:
Lower your standard of living. You should live well and decently but below whatever you are capable of. Spend money temperately. Save where you can. As you are able, give intelligently when you see where it needs to be given. Be in control of your money. Do not let money control you.
I advise you of this in Christ as one message greatly needed to be repeated again and again to America and the entire world: that life is now turned upside down and is not as it should be. Things seem to be on top of people. People are not on top of things. The bottom rail of priorities has been placed on top.
Now I ask you for your own good and that of your families to keep an eye on the right proportion of things as well as to prefer restraint to excess in buying. But whatever you do buy, if it is food, let it be nutritious and wholesome; if it is an object, let it be pleasing. Do not allow your lives and those of your children to be lacking in health or scarred by ugliness around them.
Unfortunately today barrages of constant advertising act to push people in non-spiritual directions nearly all the time. Advertising creates great currents of propaganda about nearly everything, so we must row against the stream to move ahead in Christ. This is not easy when you see that the guileless people around you are being pushed to want and pushed towards forever wanting, more and more, world without end. Amen.
Advertising tries to dupe silly people into believing their wants are needs. It works in a significant number of cases. I can assure you the world is boiling over with fools easily taken in. Do not be advertising's fool. Manipulated and used are the shallow people who believe the come hither of advertising. Pray for them. They need it because they are caught in a web of lies and hyperbole.
Rather when you go into a Department Store, look around and marvel at all the things you can do without. The way to God is not through things. Get what you and your family need, but do not forget how blessed you are in what you do not need.
Yet I would not have you think Christianity is against material things. It merely wishes to order them correctly. The Third Epistle of John 3:2 (KJV )reads like a New Year's Greeting: "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayst prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth."
You will notice scripture wishes that you prosper. Money is not evil but evil comes may come out of it. Money is a tool of betterment if used rightly. Naturally, trying to be wise, you will attempt to use it in a good way. Unfortunately it is very true if you do not have money in America, your lives will probably be made miserable, so I understand some reason for the need of money and why people feel driven to obtain it.
In America if you do not have money, your children will in most cases not get very good schooling. Bad schooling will keep your children at the bottom. Usually only people in the better neighborhoods have good schools, but there in schools the children are often taught secular values that are disgraceful before God. Send your children to such and while they may graduate knowing some things academically correct, the attitudes they may graduate with, as well as their values, are often sick, degrading, debasing and anti-social. Their academic career qualifies them for a job but their personalities are pagan, all body and no soul. Do you want a " yuppy" monster child? Left to his peers and the school bureaucracy, you may get one.
In seeking money, you are seeking to control a powerful tool you must decide how to use. Much good can be done by money intelligently used. You may send your child to an intellectual as well as Christian school. Is not this a good reason to work and prosper in order to do better by your family with money wisely spend?
You might wish to have a house of your own if you prosper. If you are poor, the well intending government bureaucrats who have access to more money than they have sense (God save us from secular do-gooders who are as babies in this world) have built government projects or "crackvilles" to place the non-prosperous in. These are the subsidized poor houses of today where usually all the non-prosperous, many of whom have crack problems in the family, are all gathered in an area" project" by the government. That way no family can remain uncontaminated from crack or its use. Is there a better cause to make money than to get your family out of a cracktown? No, of course not. How aptly the Third Epistle of John says, "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayst prosper."
A poor man has a hard enough time just surviving in our society, much less being good. Even less the poor or not too well off are without the economic means needed to row against the currents of things on some moral and political issues. In cases like these, the ownership of capital is a rock on which moral freedom to be or act independently is based.
Capitalism can buttress and protect people who want to resist the strong public pressures of conventional thought on amoral living and/or political issues. We greatly underestimate accumulating capital as a desirable basis for moral freedom in a corrupt, amoral, secular, non-spiritual but fallen, flat society of one dimensional materialism such as we have.
We also tend to overlook the many blessings of a capitalistic economic system that offers us an opportunity to prosper as well as create a bit of economic security for ourselves. This is done to the purpose that we may live apart from the secular amorality of the materialistic masses as we try to be on higher terms with God than a godless mob.
Truly, I can say sincerely with the Third Letter of John, 1:2 (RSV) "Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you." This prayer includes your business, your career and your natural need and desire in this world to make money for yourself and for those others you cherish.
Most lives for prosperous Americans now are an excess of things and very much like a Christmas where Christ has been forgotten. There are too many gifts, too much food and little spiritual awareness. Everyone means well at Christmas, but they get so caught up in things that they forget the birth of Christ. Yet the whole purpose of Christmas is to celebrate the incarnation of God in Christ and rejoice in the emergence of the spirit of God perfectly in a man. Christmas should be a time of consecration of ourselves. But in too much of this and too many of that we lose the sacred sense of the day. So it is with our lives: we lose the sacred sense of God through over-concern with things.
It is easy to forget the reason we were created: We have come to earth to be born spiritually and to have our lives of testing on earth expose and bring out the Christ within us through grace. The purpose of our creation is that Christ may appear from within us as a photograph made from a negative emerges in the right solution.
The right solution that helps to develop Christ from the image of Himself that God created in us is the environment we create. It is also the deeds we do and the actions we undertake for others. In the right solution by grace the image of Christ within us will emerge. It will never be a perfect image for we are sinful, but it will have spiritual vitality that will last until we are united with God. And this is a parable of why mankind was created.
It is no small thing if you let the spiritual purpose of life pass you by. It is a melancholy thing if your spiritual destiny in creation is not met. It is a sad thing if your discovery of Christ within yourself through grace is obscured and forgotten, because your life is too busy with your standard of living and a material addiction to things, things, and more things.
JUST AS YOU CAN FORGET THE REAL MEANING OF
CHRISTMAS, YOU CAN OVERLOOK THE REAL MEANING OF YOUR LIVES. DO NOT BE OVER-CONCERNED WITH THINGS.
A good way to begin living in God with spiritual sanity in a thing crazed world is to lower your standard of living, reduce your wants, and not live as if they were real needs. Deal much less in things and much more in God.