Keeping Body And Soul Together
The world has been blessed in that technology, industry,
manufacturing, and business have raised the standards
of living of many formerly poor people. The advent of
obtainable manufactured goods and money brought in by them
have proved most fortunate for many who were living in
deepest poverty. Often their plight has been remarkably
alleviated. This is grounds for Christian rejoicing.
The New and Old Testaments were very sensitive to the plight, of the poor. Christians should be rejoicing in their very real progress. Of course man has a sinful side and that side has cast dark shadows on the material progress of mankind.
Different groups have offered various methods for dealing with spreading materialistic progress. Some of the strategies offered to implement the reduction of poverty have been bizarre to say the least.
But we should not look down on technology, manufacturing, industrialization, and businesses. They contribute much if and when their benefits are properly used to enhance our quality of life. Their contribution has not always been beneficial, but their defects are not beyond remedy.
However, as a wealth of material goods has risen, many people seem to have become more materialistic. The Christian challenge is to encourage materialistic progress without turning solely to materialism in the process.
To increase material blessings is good, but wealth should not be allowed to diminish spiritual truths and spiritual living. Unfortunately, more wealth has. Many more people now do not tend to live balanced lives of consciousness of both body and spiritual interests. There is too much commercialism of spirit, too much materialism and unashamed pure selfishness.
We have before us all over the world an increasing number of people whose judgments are made by material things and are therefore very warped. To such people self-indulgence alone is wisdom. Good and evil are only superstitions. Morality is completely relative. Such are to be concerned over and treated with respect yet their beliefs are beyond the pale. Realize that. And do you teach that to your children and grandchildren? You should or a bleak future looms.
Many warped followers of unbalanced materialism do go to churches but they lack Christ. Many are in churches that do not emphasize Christ as the spiritual center of life. Some are among the half-way covenanted church goers who attend but that is the extent of it.
Many have creeds but not Christ. In fact some churches have creeds on the brain but are without Christ in the heart. Remember the words of the scripture ‘‘my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places.” (Philippians 12:13) To be true Christians we must show the bonds to Christ.
Along side the material world, the spiritual world is badly needed to rein in the excesses of merely material world views. Without consciousness of the spiritual world to guide, there will be only more lack of harmony, more coldness in attitudes, less sense of human dignity.
A spiritual world is needed to complement a material world. Otherwise things will not be balanced as they should. The spiritual is as important and (I dare say) even more important than the material world because the fruits of the spiritual life are needed to give a sense of proportion to human life and human effort.
A sense of the spiritual is needed to give a moral sanity to man’s chase for material goods. If you maintain there is only the senses to be indulged and money to be chased, then what is to be said but misery for man and sorrow for society will follow.
Yes, the world needs clean water. We may be grateful there are plants and factories to clean it. But the world also needs living water such as Jesus mentioned to the woman at the well when He told her that God could give her Living Water. (Gospel of John 4:14)
Christians should be happy for the poor all around the globe whose standards of living are being raised by technology, business, industry and manufacturing. Those working in them benefit humanity and should be proud of their social contribution to global welfare.
But we should not forget ours is more than a merely material world. It desperately needs spiritual maturity and spiritual development to meet the challenges that the advancement in business, technology, industry and manufacturing have made.
Mankind has a dual nature. We need to keep this fact and need in the public consciousness. Our challenge is to make people aware of our need and mankind’s need to keep body and soul together.
Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.